From David Carlick ...... Retro email rant on tweeting.
Tweet. Kindle. Wha!
The irony is that the two most interesting technology stories on the pages are about Twitter (and, by extension, FriendFeed and social networks themselves) and Kindle.
In my opinion, these are polar opposites, an irony in plastic and electrons.
While Twitter coverage celebrates a sort of global stream of snippety consciousness, the Kindle is a product that is, in the end, about thoughtful reading.
Twitter and its social network brethren certainly deserve a place in our consciousness – a hundred million people can’t be ignored.
Pundits are breathless over Twitter, and the plumbing of that stream of consciousness that will, in theory, emerge and give us insights into the mind of God, or even better.
But the ‘need’ to post is a compulsion and so is the ‘need’ to know what all your friends and friends’ friends and celebrities are doing.
This colossal ‘party line’ is a kudzu vine that is choking off people’s time and thinking, with a deluge of the inane and a swarm of links that lead to more of the same.
But then, after having read too many of their thoughts than I needed to, maybe that is appropriate.
Asynchronous communication (first, voicemail, then email) were great steps forward in communication. I formulate my request and send it to you. You deal with it, or not, on your own schedule.
In parallel, the FAQ and its website progeny have made it easy for people to get information without bothering others.
So moving back to synchronous, short form, real time updates and queries from everyone on everything is proof that technology can waste as much time as it saves.
In fact, I will call it David’s Law: Technology Wastes More Time Than It Saves, But It Saves Enough To Pay For Itself and It Makes Time Wasting Even More Efficient.
Personal computers did spreadsheets and word processing, but they also did hobbies, recipes, family trees.
The instant they got a modem, you had forums, discussions, groups, and forwarded jokes and of course, pornography.
Now the Kindle, that is something different.
Paper lovers bemoan its lack of texture and size while computer and iPhone lovers bemoan its passive mono screen.
But it is the end of paper, finally, and passive = low power and mono = resolution that finally brings digital text into the readable realm of print and line art.
I will own two, one for my pocket and one for my briefcase, and eventually, one the size of a tabloid for home and office reading, and maybe another for the bathroom.
Other than coffee table tomes, I will never buy a print ‘word’ product again. If it won’t go on my Kindle, I don’t want to bother.
My bookshelves look, now, as useful to me as the cabinetry I had built to house a 40” CRT television once.
Not only is Kindle the end of paper, but in a fit of irony, it ushers in The End Of Free.
I happily, gladly, cheerfully pay for newspapers and books and blogs to be sent to my Kindle, and judging by the size of the cable bill most people pay for free TV, I am not alone.
The tyranny of users not paying is over, or at least, the flame that will burn it away is now kindled.
Investors will no longer tolerate funding free, and the Kindles, Facebooks, MySpaces who will never really get advertisers to pay for as much time and bandwidth and storage as users consume are going to have to face this.
Twittering won’t go away. Nor will social networks.
There is a genuine benefit to having a digital presence, connectivity.
There is, for some, genuine fun in slavishly reading the constant comments of those who feel slavishly compelled to post them.
The technology that saves us time will give us ample opportunity to waste it, but it is still paying for itself.
And the little Kindle is the milestone on the road to a coherent content future.