Interview with Zee Kulsariyeva and Elle Sidell, of FlowReader

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Cendrine Marrouat

Social Media Slant Founder Cendrine Marrouat is a social media journalist, blogger, coach, curator, and author living in Canada. In 2012, she released The Little Big eBook on Blogging: 40 Traffic Generation Tips, a comprehensive resource that provides bloggers of all levels with essential information and precise guidance to attract quality traffic to their blogs. She is currently working on an eBook on social media strategies.
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Flowreader Team

The FlowReader team. From left to right: Zee Kulsariyeva, Elle Sidell, Vojtěch Mikšů, Martin Čechura, Lex Vjatkin, and Founder Michal Illich

I met Elle Sidell on Twitter on few weeks ago, when she asked me to check out FlowReader. I really enjoyed using the RSS reader, so I invited the Community Manager to answer some questions to promote it on the blog.

She and FlowReader Product Owner, Zee Kulsariyeva joined forces for this interview…

Q1: Hello Zee and Elle, thank you for answering my questions. First, who are you?

A1: We are Wikidi.cz, an international team based in Prague working on multiple web-service projects, including FlowReader.

Q2: What’s the story behind FlowReader? And why such a name?

A2: FlowReader originally started as a compact tool that combined Facebook and Twitter streams into a single screen. Later on, we decided to add an RSS reader as well so that our users could read everything in one place. We felt that it was important for people to have the ability to keep up with all the latest social media updates as well new posts from their favorite blogs.

There’s a lot of content sources to deal with nowadays, and our mission is to figure out simple solutions for managing all of those different sources.

The name “FlowReader” reflects the initial concept our founder, Michal Illich, had to create an application that would “flow” diverse content streams into a single location. We’ve also tried to keep this theme going throughout the app. The team likes to think that our user experience is quite “flow-y” as well.

 Q3: What makes FlowReader different from other RSS readers like Feedly or Feedspot?

A3: Both Feedly and Feedspot are amazing projects, but FlowReader offers more than just a basic RSS reader features. We’ve added another content layer by letting users access important content on social media as well.

The main idea that drives FlowReader is the belief that the internet is moving towards a point when all the various types of web-content will be available in one place, a concept that is largely grounded in the Semantic Web movement. Currently, we feel our own goals align with this concept: users can stream their RSS, Facebook, and Twitter sources both together and separately.

Q4:  Give us a quick overview of FlowReader.

A4: Here’s the basics. You can connect different accounts: Facebook, Twitter, and import RSS. Each of these sources can be seen as one stream, separated by type (RSS and Social), or viewed as a single feed.

Within the RSS portion of our app, you have the option to create and manage categories as well as sorting options that allow you to control the content you read. You can also easily like and share items in your social feeds straight from the app, and you can even tweet or post new statuses with a single click.

FlowReader home screen

Q5: How many people currently use FlowReader? What feature(s) do they prefer?

A5: Our current user base is approximately 10,000 people. We’re growing slowly, but steadily :)!

Q6: Anything else you would like to add?

A6: Right now, the team has been working on releasing something called Suggestions for users who are new to RSS and don’t have any feeds yet. Our Suggestions section will recommend what feeds to follow by category.

We’ve also been putting the finishing touches on our responsive web version so that FlowReader will be accessible on any device. In fact, we’re hoping to release it this week.

Of course, those are just a couple things on our to-do list – there’s more coming! There are so many features we would like to add and we have to balance that with things we’ve already got on our list: search, viewing and commenting, article time-length, number of remaining items, etc. It’s a long list, but it’s an exciting one, which is good because it helps us stay motivated.

We’d also like to add more social media networks to our service! We’re hoping that services like LinkedIn and Google+ will release their full API so we can display their data within FlowReader.

Thank you for the great questions and the interview!

For more information on FlowReader, visit http://flowreader.com/

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