Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Killing Romance with the Kindle?

A few weeks ago, I noticed an article on Slate which complained that the Kindle is sounding the death-knell on romance. Think about it: no one can discretely sneak a peek at the spine of the book you're reading on a Kindle, and by making the act of reading a private thing, it makes it harder to strike up a random conversation with a stranger. The author says a lot of interesting things about the death of the Public Book, or the concept that people could identify you by what you read (or listen to on an iPod, or whatever). I mentioned this to a friend and we started talking about what book our ideal date would be caught reading on the metro. (It's actually a harder question to answer than you think; our verdict would be something so cool that we hadn't even heard of it, so they could pique our interest and tell us all about it).

Well now, the Atlantic has written a response arguing that because of Facebook, Twitter, etc, we broadcast our preferences in music, literature, etc. more loudly than ever before. Plus, they argue, we can exchange the books or music we love with the people we love through e-mail, file-sharing, etc.

This conversation goes on with a response by the original Slate author, but I think it's an interesting commentary on whether we're using social media to transition from old forms of flirting to new, or whether it is actually changing the way we communicate.

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