What Impact Does Social Media Have on Reading?

The image on the right is a really creative marketing strategy by Milwaukee Public Library.  I like how they mention sites that just about everyone is familiar with.

The amount of technology including social media, e-readers, tablets, computers, and more, is overwhelming.  Technology is a very good thing because it puts the world at our fingertips.  Social media has formed a global community of users.  It has also helped us keep up with the lives of our friends and family more easily.

Social media can be used to share what we are reading.  We can share passages from our Kindle via Facebook or Twitter.  We can also follow Amazon or other Kindle related users to keep up with the latest news and reviews.

The drawback is that it is all a major time suck.  The time we used to spend curled up with a book or playing outside is now spent on Facebook.  More and more of our interactions with others are done online rather than in person.

So, how does this all relate to the Kindle?  Well it is more of a topic for discussion than anything.  If you could take a break from social media for a period of time, would you do the same for your Kindle?  I am excluding the Kindle Fire from this question because it is more tablet than e-reader.

In my personal opinion, there is something that sets the e-ink Kindle apart from other gadgets.  It is considered electronic, but it is built in a way that simulates that feeling we get when we read a real book.  I curl up on the couch and escape into my Kindle books often.  Does anyone ever say they’re addicted to the Kindle?  If so, do you consider that a bad thing?

I think social media also affects the quality of what and how we read.  We are exposed to so much information that we have to filter it out.  So we spend less time reading more in depth material.

So, how can we use the technology more effectively?  We will have to actively allot time for various things. Check e-mail or Facebook twice a day, get outside for an hour each day, etc.  Read for an hour a day.  Those are just examples.

It is amazing to me that just 10 years ago a majority of what is out there now wasn’t even invented yet.  However, books have been around for a very long time.  Now e-readers add another medium for reading them.  Happy reading!

 

 

In Era Of Self-Promotion, Authors’ Obligations & Opportunities Increase Thanks To Kindle’s @author

Amazon’s new @author feature is a new addition to their Kindle-based social media effort.  Currently in a limited beta release, the feature promises to create an even closer author to reader connection by allowing readers to send along questions for their favorite authors right from the Kindle itself.  While it may turn out to be a mixed blessing for authors already being pulled in far more directions than ever before to get maximum exposure, many will undoubtedly welcome the opportunity.

In its ideal use case, the @author feature will be a source for frequent connections with curious readers that allows for one-on-one contact and gives readers a chance to resolve points of confusion by going directly to the source.  At the same time, since questions are visible from the author’s Amazon page and answerable by anybody, this should help to foster a sense of community among readers.  It seems a lot like Kindle authors are getting the best of both worlds.  There are promotional opportunities from the comfort of their own homes when they are building an audience and an open forum for discussion when that audience gets large enough and involved enough that people start answering each other’s questions.

Obviously the advantage for Amazon in all of this is that the Kindle‘s integration into the communication process will give it that much more pull on customers and potential Kindle Direct Publishing authors.  The user experience of the upcoming Kindle Tablet will also involve tighter connections than ever to the Amazon.com storefront, which makes this a further selling point for the new hardware, at least among readers, should they market it properly.

There are potential downsides with this, as with all new services.  Because it is still a limited beta release, we have no real way of knowing what kind of moderation the @author question/answer system will enjoy upon release.  As anybody who frequents the Amazon product forums can attest, open discussion on the site doesn’t always tend toward the most productive side of things.  There is also a new set of authorial duties that will take some getting used to.

Since the ride of eBooks began, many have expressed concern that the increased emphasis on self publishing would result in the best marketers rising to the top rather than the best writers.  In theory, after all, the role of the publishing house was to select the best of the best to bring readers only exactly what they want to read.  In some ways, it’s a very important concern.  Sure, you can now sell your own book without bothering to get an agent, editor, or publisher, but now you also have to complete every stage of development from the start with no large support structure.

Undoubtedly some amazing authors have fallen by the side of the road for exactly that reason.  Overall though, with the sheer number of increasingly successful Kindle authors, we’ve seen an increase in the number of great writers being read.  This will probably bring a little bit more hassle for some people, but it will also facilitate convenient conversation and have a net positive effect for any author smart enough to take advantage of it.

Social Media and Technology Blogs for Kindle

Mashable is a leading social network news blog that was founded in 2005.  You can get it on the Kindle and Kindle DX for 99 cents a month.  By downloading the site to your Kindle, you can read it anytime with or without the wireless capability.  Just keep in mind that the wireless needs to be on in order for the content to be refreshed.

Peter Cashmore founded the site from a small town in Scotland.  The site includes up to date news on social media such as Facebook, Twitter, blogs and Web 2.0 trends.  This is a great resources for libraries because libraries are constantly striving to stay on top of the technology curve.  In addition to libraries, this site is popular with entrepreneurs, social media enthusiasts and pretty much anyone who is interested in Web 2.0 trends.

Some recent news topics include the newest iPhone apps.  There is an article about an interesting looking case that makes the iPhone kid friendly.  Another article discusses the ease of using the iPhone to swipe a credit card.  If you are an Android user, there is news for you too.  Of course, you can also find news on the Kindle, Nook and other e-book readers.

Social Media Marketing is a big deal right now, and Mashable is an excellent resource for finding suggestions on how to market yourself on Facebook and Twitter.  Marketing your business on these sites helps get your brand out there and is also a good way to network with people in similar fields of expertise.

Looking beyond social media, another good technology blog to consider is TechCrunch.  TechCrunch was founded in 2005 and profiles start ups, shares the latest technology news and reviews new internet products.  Some of the latest articles include education and e-learning, an interview with the popular movie company, Netflix and thoughts on AT&T’s reaction to the rumored Verizon iPhone.   There is also a section on environmentally friendly technology.

Both Mashable and TechCrunch are rated as top technology blogs.  The reviews for the Kindle edition are great overall.  Reading them on the Kindle makes them much more portable.