Truth be told about new social media tools, I feel a little jaded sometimes.
Even with Google+, which I emphatically, utterly agree with and want to succeed, I can barely find the time or the energy to play with.
Call yourself a social media expert? Well, no, I don’t so much, really. I’m more interested in things we can do with the web, and since I wrote Me and My Web Shadow, I’ve tried to keep to my own rule of making the tech work for you, rather than the other way around…
But today I completed a profile for Amazon Kindle and genuinely felt a deep thrill, a sense of excitement that was heavily laced with trepidation. Like this could be dangerous as well as powerful, like it could be the beginning of something…
My what profile?
When you read books on the Kindle platform, as i have done since buying an iPad a while a go, you can highlight the text. I do this instinctively, even though I sometimes never re-visit the highlights or notes. It’s the translation of my offline approach to reading books where I will bookmark the bottom of a page and mark passages of interest with my thumbnail.
On your Kindle profile you can see all the passages you’ve marked and all the notes you made.
So can anyone else.
You might know this already. But even knowing what is technically possible, have you thought about what this means? What it will make possible?
Reading books for me has been part of my inner life since I was five years old. Its a part of my way of thinking and learning that me and the grey matter have been going at for nearly 35 years.
Even as blogging and the social web began to change my media habits, reading books remained related but separate. Reading books would be where I went for depth, for a kind of meditation on a subject as well as to be informed and inspired.
Some books, The Origin of Wealth and The Power of Pull for instance, are almost like places in my mental landscape, a set of ideas, frameworks and a kind of mood music where I go to work things out. I return to them when I am, for instance working on a big strategy project, or in the case of The Art of the Start, when I am building the foundations of my new business.
I’ll reference books I’ve read in blog posts, recommend them in Tweets, but what goes on between my brain and the text on the page (or latterly screen) has remained very private.
Then last week I Tweeted from a book.
As I highlighted the passage I realised i could share it with my network and I did.
Speaking with my long-time collaborator and partner-in-crime, Jim Byford last week, he shared some of his exctiement about the potential for this for education and for intellectual life in general.
Not only can you share your thoughts on a passage in an e-book, you can see who else has highlighted it. Not who has bought the book, red the book, like the author. Who has has been excited or interested enough in that nugget of knowledge or insight to mark it…
Right there you have a community of interest around a sentence. Around a thought. An idea.
: : Bonus link: wrote this post in draft before I had read The Art of Thinking in Public. That makes this the third time I’ve linked to that post in a week…