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Books, Stuff, Data: Why I Will Not Get Facebook on Paper

My kindle, my salvation: books in our home
The New York Times Magazine recently ran an article by Carina Chocano on us and the electronic age: The Dilemma of Being a Cyborg. Reading it, I learned about a Facebook app offered by the German postal service DHL. The app allows users to convert their Facebook activity into "a handsome book containing all your fondest social-media memories, converted into, and preserved as, commemorative infographics".

I can understand why DHL would come up with the application: Facebook books will have to be shipped, which means business for the mailing service. What I don't get is why we would want to use the app. Maybe I am just not a big enough fan of Facebook but to me the one big advantage of digitization is space related. Whatever I have stored virtually takes up as much room as my kindle and my PC plus the back-up system it is connected to. The belongings of me as a cyborg fit into a small carry-on travel bag.

Compare that to the belongings of me as a citizen of the real world, hold it up against our stuff: china and clothes; furniture, pictures, CDs, and skis; towels, trinkets, and books. When my family first came to live in the United States in 1999 our moving container included more than 80 boxes filled with books and since then our library has only grown. Book cases line every wall in our house; more books sit in our garage and in a public storage space we rent. 

Chocano writes that "for everything that’s gained by our ability to store and maintain more information than ever before, something is lost that has to do with texture, context and association". This is so true and, for me, never more so than when it comes to books, something I explored a while ago in Goethe, McCarthy, and the Ups and Downs of Book SpinesBut something has to give and we have run out of space. My kindle, therefore, is my salvation.

Will I add to our hands-on library by turning me on Facebook into "a handsome book"? Heck, no. But - confessions of a book addict - I might go out and buy a hard copy of William Boyd's Any Human Heart. It is such a great read; it really belongs in my library.

Comments

debi said…
Christina,

I couldn't resist. I had to request a sample of William Boyd's Any Human Heart on my Kindle.

I love his writing. I was definitely captured and considering buying the book. Then I read 1 January 1924 and immediately purchased. How fun!

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