Saturday, August 11, 2007

Covert Amazon Infiltration

Recently, I was invited to join Shelfari, whose website says that it's the "first social media site focused on books." I'm miserable at online social networking - my friends and associates just aren't people who have caught the social networking wave. I've never sat down and actually counted the number of people I know, but I do know that it's more than what my social networking profiles represent. I'm, therefore, pretty lame when it comes to these things.

So Shelfari, like BookCrossing, is about books. Unlike BookCrossing, Shelfari counts as an investor. The downside of this is that although there is a nifty bookshelf at the top of this blog showing the books that I allegedly own, if you scroll over a book on this shelf, it's easier to see the icon with a dollar sign and what is assumed to be a link to Amazon's site for the book. I've also had a bunch of technical problems with getting an appropriately-sized bookshelf onto this blog, and right now it seems like the links on the books and the Shelfari icon are broken. Don't blame me. I don't know any programming languages other than HTML, BASIC, and LOGO. Also, I'm confused about what my "goal" as a Shelfari member is. I'm not sure of what's supposed to go onto the bookshelf. All the books I own? The ones that I've read (but don't necessarily own)? I don't get it. My solution is to place on my bookshelf the stuff I've read since July, and then add on some books that reflect my personality. To that end, I am one of only one or two people on Shelfari that own books like the Appalachian Mountain Club's White Mountain Guide, Lonely Planet's Trekking in the Nepal Himalaya (no, I still haven't made it there), and Backcountry First Aid and Extended Care (my Wilderness First Aid certification expired in 2004, but all the information I learned kicked in when I had altitude sickness 2 years ago). Mostly, though, I dislike being a free advertiser for Amazon. This bookshelf probably will not remain here.