What I’m Reading: Research Assistant Elizabeth McCullough
Nobody promotes their magazine on Flipboard quite like former Jeopardy contestant Elizabeth McCullough. On Twitter, McCullough is a master of the pleasantly provocative tweet—”Rough news cycle, huh? Here’s a hamster!”—that directs readers to her magazine, The Internet Flâneur.
“I’m just strolling around the internet, gathering the best of what I find and sharing it,” says McCullough. A professional writer and editor, McCullough—who holds degrees in psychology and counseling— is also a research assistant for business thinker, social scientist and The New York Times best-selling author Daniel Pink. In her free time, she manages one of the world’s most comprehensive literary blogs, Book Balloon.
In short: McCullough loves information. As for what kind, suffice to say her insatiable intellect is without prejudice. Feeling quite confident that we’d learn something new, we asked her: what are you reading?
I subscribe to many, many newsletters and site feeds that I skim just about every morning for articles related to my interests and projects: writing, politics, literature, and creative nonfiction and journalism. Previously, when I found something quirky or moving or really well written, I’d share the link on Facebook. I’d get the occasional comment from a friend saying, “You always find the best stuff,” which was gratifying. One day, a friend from Charlottesville, Cindy Maisannes, suggested I give Flipboard a try.
I’ve loved magazines since I was old enough to hold one. My mother and father subscribed to several, including National Geographic, Field & Stream, Readers Digest, and the classic women’s magazines: Redbook, Good Housekeeping, Ladies’ Home Journal. My dream job would be reading vintage magazines all day long.
So when I realized that Flipboard was a way I could make my own “magazine” and share it with my friends, I was hooked. My favorite part is choosing the cover image. I know the rule of thumb for a successful magazine is to concentrate on a hot topic or niche interest, but my mind doesn’t work that way. That’s why I called my magazine “The Internet Flaneur”—I’m just strolling around the Internet, gathering the best of what I find and sharing it.
Here’s where it gets a little embarrassing: I don’t have an iPad, which I understand is the ideal platform for using Flipboard as a feed reader and a porter to Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, etc. So I’m not getting the full effect of one of the things Flipboard does best, which is graphically organizing information into streams.
For profiles, human interest stories and creative journalism, I subscribe to a mix of classics and new web-based media: Longform, Esquire, Vanity Fair, Longreads, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Hairpin, Washington Post and The New York Times.
It’s so easy to flip, flip, flip through the articles until one catches my eye. Flipboard creates a very comfortable reading format for all kinds of articles. I really appreciate that, because given the amount of time I’m online, my eyes get tired fast.