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Could Flipboard lose Twitter?

Lauren Indvik (@laureni) asks at Mashable, “Is Flipboard About to Lose Access Twitter?”

Her question was prompted by Mike McCue, Flipboard Founder, resigning from Twitter’s board of directors  today.

AllThingsD‘s Kara Swisher reported in May that McCue had approached Twitter CEO Dick Costolo and co-founder Jack Dorsey about stepping down. The reason? “McCue’s growing feeling that the companies are on a product collision course” — meaning, she suggested, that Flipboard is positioned to becoming a more direct rival to Twitter, or a more obvious acquisition target for Twitter or its competitors.

Flipboard Jim Calloway at Wrigley Field
Jim Calloway & son at Wrigley Field on Flipboard Cover
Much of the news and information you read on Flipboard is fed to Flipboard via Twitter. The news, blog post, or article linked to in the Tweet is then be presented in entirety on Flipboard. Rather than news and information coming via RSS on a RSS Reader such as Reeder or Mr Reader, Flipboard is pretty slick and widely used by lawyers.

You can also set up Flipboard to follow Twitter lists. This  is particularly nice for me to be able to read what’s important to potential business partners, key influencers in my industry, and when watching sports – Mariners or Greenback Packer lists.

What we’re seeing is an inevitable conflict with Twitter acting more and more like a media company than a distribution via technology company. It’s one thing if I just serve as the plumbing which moves (by links) news, information, and media. The info is displayed elsewhere.  That’s the Twitter we’ve come to know.

It’s another if I display the news, information, and media I am distributing for viewing right on my own platform. Twitter is starting to do some of this.

Twitter is displaying the article or media linked to in a Tweet right in the Twitter atmosphere – usually just below the Tweet. Maybe not the whole piece, but we’re getting started with pictures, video, and excerpts of articles and blog posts. Who can blame them? There’s ad money in media advertising.

To seize control of displaying media in their own atmosphere, Twitter could cut off Tweets being displayed in third party applications. We got a taste of that with LinkedIn’s no longer displaying Tweets.

If Twitter cuts off Tweets to Flipboard we lose a lot of news and info being displayed at Flipboard. We’ll still get RSS feeds. But a whole of folks don’t know how to set up RSS feeds from Google Reader. We’ll still get Facebook feeds – I never have used them. And we’ll still get pre-selected magazine and newspaper feeds or RSS feeds we could find on a search at Flipaboard.

But I see the FLipboard experience being diminished with a Twitter cut-off.

Who knows? Maybe it’s all a game of high stakes poker of seeing if you can get Flipboard to sell to Twitter?

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