What a perfect excuse.
When I saw that Amazon released a new textbook rental feature for Kindle, I saw it as an opportunity. Especially when they advertise it with, “Save up to 80 percent off the list price of the print textbook.”
Eighty percent? Whoa. That’s a big gap. In fact, I thought, that’s enough savings to buy a Kindle and still come out with my rented textbooks in the black. Right?
The Mashable.com article said Amazon has tens of thousands of textbooks to choose from. Also, if you rent it for the Kindle, you also get it on your mobile device and laptop computer. Not a bad combo. I decided to test my luck and see what kind of savings I could get.
Here’s what I found:
Out of the five classes (15 credit hours, average for college students) I am enrolled in for the fall at the University of Kentucky, I only needed five books.
Now that is unusual, but I take communication/journalism and political science classes, two fairly popular majors, so my chances of big savings should be high.
But out of the five books I needed, only one of them was available on Amazon.com for the Kindle. And that one book was not eligible for the textbook rental program.
My hopes and dreams of getting my hands on my own Kindle were shattered as quickly as they were shaped, but not everyone will have my luck.
I’m a quitter.
In the realm of social media, I usually end up forgetting to post and tweet regularly.
I work in waves of activity. One day, at the crest of activity, I tweet and post and blog like a madman. The next day, I’m a ghost.
But those tendencies have dropped off since I joined Google+, Google’s own social networking platform. Right now, Google+ is still in beta testing phase with access granted by invite only. Even so, it is speculated to have more than 10 million users already.
It’s hugely popular with already avid social media users, but it is also gaining momentum for inspiring a new and distinct audience.
1. Privacy: Unlike Facebook and Twitter, Google+ allows users to choose who they share certain content with. In reality, people don’t speak with family the way they do their friends or coworkers. Google+ attempts to simulate that truth and stimulate deep conversations and activity. They do this with their signature feature, Circles.
Circles allows users to sort friends, coworkers, celebrities and whoever else, into any category you wish. You can create as many circles as you want, up to 5000 anyway. All you do is click and drag your list of friends into the circles you create. Simple.
2. Hanging out: Interacting with your friends has never been easier. Over the internet at least. Google+ introduced their hangout feature, which enables circles to video chat with each other, up to 10 users. If one person you are interested in is talking, just mouse over their thumbnail video and it expands above the rest. If nobody strikes your fancy, Google+ takes the liberty of cycling through users every few seconds.
3. Photo sharing: If you are like me, viewing shared photos of friends or colleagues is an important tool in social media.
Facebook has slowly improved their tool. Twitter lacks one all-together. Google+ made leaps and bounds over competition. The photos tab on your main page takes you to a sleek, cleanly designed page.
When you open up an album, the photos appear big and beautiful on the page, a photographer’s dream photo tool. Even in the Stream, Google+’s version of Facebook’s Feed, the photos appear big, with every detail clearly defined.
4. Immediacy: Google was able to take Twitter’s market advantage. Since Twitter publishes every tweet to everyone, information gets lost to viewers who follow a sizable number of accounts. Plus, replies come in a back-and-forth method. Little activity between the audience happens because of the difficulty to keep up with the “who said what to who?” mentality of tweets. Google integrates the immediacy of Twitter with responses in a clean commenting system, like Facebook. But, because all the information is relevant to every Google+ member, more people are inclined to join the conversation and actually see what others are saying, too.
5. Simplicity: The word to describe the entirety of Google+ is simple. Developers took every step to make sure that the program was as simple and clean as possible to use. You’ll be hard pressed to find useless design elements in the system. As of now, Google+ doesn’t feature games or advertisements. That prevents users from being bogged down in the usual insanity that comes along with most social networks.
I’m a simple guy with big expectations. Since I started posting on the site, I realized I was reaching my audiences like never before. I have opportunities to meet others with my interests like never before, and I’m a consistent social media user.
While the program does indeed have flaws, and so much potential to grow, the program has made a serious name for itself. Maybe you’ll get hooked like I did.