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I’ve owned a Kindle for nearly a year now, and continue to use the device regularly and enjoy it more and more. When I first got it, I thought I’d be like this gentleman on the park bench — engrossed in a long story, contemplative and serene, the only difference being the Kindle.
But something else has transpired.
I recently came across Joe Wikert’s post on the surprising use-case of the Kindle, and it jibes completely with my experience. The Kindle, as it’s currently built, isn’t an ebook — it’s a connected e-reader. And the connectivity creates a reading experience that deviates from what I’d expected.
By being connected all the time, my Kindle is different nearly every time I pick it up. A blog, a newspaper, or a feed of some sort has been updated. The upshot of this is that short-form content is much more useful on the Kindle. It’s a newspaper, a newsfeed outlet, a blog reader, an updater. The introduction of wireless connectivity has changed the equation.
Others have already noted the predilection of the device to support “information snacking.” This has long been a trend among readers, reinforced regularly by myriad sources (search results, email, news tickers). It is seen in the new habit that can be described as “speed-dating headlines,” looking for a longer reading relationship worth sustaining.
So, if you have or acquire a Kindle, don’t be surprised if you spend most of your time snacking and speed-dating. It’s what continuous wireless connectivity, a culture emphasizing breadth at first with depth always possible, and our current habits of information consumption are cultivating.
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