KATHY HUTSON: Sometimes, not sharing is a good thing – Royal Oak Daily Tribune

“What’s up?” asked Mary Beth. “You sound distracted.”

“I am,” I replied. “You called while I was waiting on the Kindle website.”

“Waiting, on the Kindle website? I thought you said that one of the reasons you like the Kindle so much is because you can download a book in a minute or two from almost anywhere.”

Mary Beth was right. One of the things I like best about my Kindle book reader is that I’m never without a book and that I can stockpile dozens of them when we travel. It’s one of those inventions I wish I’d had years ago when we took some of our longer trips. I remember being in Africa, finishing my last book, and hovering over my girlfriend, impatiently waiting for her to finish her book, so I could have it. I can’t tell you the number of books I’ve left in waiting rooms and on airplanes because I was done reading them, and I didn’t want to schlep them any farther.

On a flight to Mexico a couple of years ago, a flight attendant told me about a movement where people would sign the inside page of a book, leave it somewhere so someone else could pick it up, read it, sign it, and leave it again. The object was to see how many people had read the book. The same idea of a chain letter, but without the guilt.

But I digress.

Right after the Kindle came out, I bought one. I loved it so much I suggested my cousin give one to his wife for Christmas. They live in Windsor, and at that time people in Canada couldn’t get Kindles because the service that downloads books wasn’t available in Canada. But that didn’t stop my cousin’s wife. She figured out that she could drive close to the river, get a signal and download as many books as she could afford. She has hundreds of them on her Kindle.

And that’s why I was on the Kindle site when Mary Beth called. No sooner had I bought my first Kindle, than Amazon came out with the next version. It was small, lighter, and did more stuff than mine. Then, the price started coming down. I can now get a newer version for $100 less than my older version. Ain’t that always the way?

So, when I opened my e-mail one morning and saw that I could win the newest iteration of the Kindle by becoming a “friend” on Facebook, I bit. Amazon was giving away five Kindles to folks who signed up on Facebook. So, I clicked on the link in my e-mail and was taken to the Amazon site. And there I sat, waiting for the section where I could register to load — 5 minutes, 10 minutes, call from Mary Beth minutes, conference call minutes, and still the page didn’t load. I kept getting blue bars telling me the system was working.

I finally gave up, shut the site down and tried again, thinking there was something the matter. Nope, blue bars again. While I was waiting, however, I had time to look at the list of Facebook friends. There were 159,208 at that point. Doing the math — please check me on this since I failed math — my chances as of Friday morning at about 9:30 were 31,942 (I rounded up) to 1 against winning one of those Kindles. With “them” odds, I wouldn’t bet on a horse race or undergo a new medical treatment.

However, what an inexpensive — make that downright cheap — way to advertise. Every time Kindle posts on my Facebook page, the info ends up on the Facebook pages of all my friends.

The more I thought of it, the happier I was that I never signed up. What a rotten thing to do to my friends! I know how it feels to get stuff I don’t want on Facebook. I get lots of it. I didn’t used to, but they changed Facebook, and it became a way to tell folks what was going on with you in real time.

Now, while I will rejoice with you at the birth of a child and love pictures of your kids and their kids, call me heartless, but I really don’t care that some jerk cut you off on the way to work or that you’re planning on washing your hair. I also don’t care that you have to harvest beets in Farmville or they’ll rot in the ground.

I think I’ll pass on the opportunity for a chance at a new Kindle. I enjoy my old one. Besides, I can read books from my Kindle library on my Droid phone, and I can download some of my books to my computer. I’ll survive. And hopefully, my Facebook friends will thank me for not sharing their information with the world.

Kathryn Hutson is a Troy resident and freelance writer. Her column appears in the Daily Tribune on Sunday. You can follow her every thought on Facebook. NOT! But you can read her old columns online at www.dailytribune.com.

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