Having a wall of bookshelves with printed books filling them has long been a big source of social capital: a person was as impressive as their library.
However, with printed books, very few of us had the space and time to keep and manage a collection of all the books we’d ever read, and the books we did keep mostly lacked personal annotations. In the future, people will have their entire reading (and multimedia viewing and listening) history available at all times, annotated and searchable.
However, no one will be able to see this from the outside; our iPads, or similar devices, will all look the same, whether we use them for reading Kierkegaard or playing online tic-tac-toe. Sharing, via Facebook, Twitter, email, and other means yet to be inventedas well as plain old conversationmay be the way that we let people know when we’re getting deep into Important Topics.
So start now. Build your online library. Annotate your books. And let the people who you most enjoy interacting with know what you’re doing, as you’re doing it.