Thursday, March 19, 2009

When is Technology 3.0 TOO interactive?

Before heading back to China from my recent US visit, I became obsessed with Amazon's new Kindle 2.0 digital reader.

To a frequent traveler and overseas resident, it seemed like the perfect way to get American reading material. Sure, you can get books, but also newspapers and magazines as well. Mind you, GIANT HOOTERS MONTHLY isn't on the list yet, but I'll settle for Newsweek and Foreign Policy these days.

So I plunked down $300, bought a few books (to include Russell Brand's fantastic My Booky Wook), and subscribed to Newsweek and the Atlanta Journal Constitution. And, of course, having finally taking the plunge, I began a vigorous letter writing campaign to Jeff Bezos to demand inclusion of GIANT HOOTERS MONTHLY in the Kindle magazine store. So far no dice.

Anyhow... so far I really dig my Kindle. Every day I read the Atlanta news from back in the US, keep up to date on national goings-on with Newsweek, and am reading 2 novels at once (this from a reformed reader who'd turned, instead, to film and tv as my media of choice). I drag my Kindle everywhere.

So here's the killer bonus to having a Kindle: It's a better chick-magnet than a freaking dog or a baby. The minute I pull out the bloody thing I'm swarmed with people wanting to talk about it. And by people I mean people who read, which would by anyone with breasts, and (manageable collateral impact) old men. Everyone knows young guys don't read.

During my flight back to China I, no exaggeration, was approached by more than 20 random strangers, 19 of whom were female, wanting to look at the Kindle, talk about it, ask how I like it, etc.

Point here being... if you're a single guy (I'm not, so mostly this was just entertainment value for me) -- BUY A FREAKING KINDLE, STAT. You will meet more chicks than you can shake a stick at. Of course, if you're a single old lady, you may want to consider this, as well.

As long as we're on the subject of interactivity, I'd like to ask what the hell is up with Twitterholics?

Now, I'm more geek-inclined than most. I've been working in the internet industry since 1995, and have ridden the wave of nearly every nerdy innovation along the way... especially those that are social in nature. I blog (as you know). I facebook. And, driven by many of my friends Twittering, I recently decided to get on board that trend and open a Twitter account. I added a bunch of buddies, they added me, and a-Twitterin' I planned to go.

But here's the thing about "micro-blogging." People seem to broadcast their every action. Sure, I get promoting your business, or talking about especially noteworthy events in your life like you'd do on Facebook or in a blog (even if its periodic updates of the mundane). But I'm looking at Twitter and I see an ENDLESS, FREQUENTLY updated thread of human minutia that no one could possibly care about. Here's what my current TWITTER home page feed looks like:

FRED: Why is Charmin so expensive compared to Kroger brand?
FRED: Wiping...
TONY: Relax, don't do it!
FRED: Pooping!!
FRED: Sitting down... seat is cold.
ELMER: How can you tell which Craigslist ads are hookers?
FRED: Closing bathroom door and locking.
SALLY: Hrmm... ground beef and an old onion.
TONY: The Reflex is an only child...
TONY: Too-raa-loo-raaa-loo-raaa-laaay
SALLY: What should I make for dinner?
FRED: Have to use toilet.
ELMER: Who wants to buy a '78 Pontiac Firebird?

Seriously. There isn't a drop of valuable information in that 1-hour's worth of posts, unless one's an 80's music fanatic or a fecaphile. Do I need this level of communication with my friends?!

Upon reflection, maybe my friends just suck. I know... I'll pull out my Kindle and make some new ones!!