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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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Kent Anderson

Kent Anderson

Kent Anderson is the CEO of RedLink and RedLink Network, a past-President of SSP, and the founder of the Scholarly Kitchen. He has worked as Publisher at AAAS/Science, CEO/Publisher of JBJS, Inc., a publishing executive at the Massachusetts Medical Society, Publishing Director of the New England Journal of Medicine, and Director of Medical Journals at the American Academy of Pediatrics. Opinions on social media or blogs are his own.


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