Reading hasn't always been seen as a solitary act. Our first experiences with books demonstrate that: before we know how to read, we often have people -- a parent, a teacher -- reading out loud to us. But once we know how to read, there's a sense that we're supposed to read silently and oftentimes, read alone. Even so, we're still compelled to share what we're reading with others -- whether we're reading for school or for pleasure.
It's no surprise then, considering the ever-present "social" online world, that we've seen the rise of social reading websites, applications and features.
Over the last few weeks, for example, Amazon has expanded the social features connected with its "Public Notes. "Public Notes" have been available since the beginning of the year, allowing readers to share publicly their highlights and notes from the Kindle books they're reading. Now Amazon has made it so that if you link your Twitter and Facebook accounts, you automatically follow all of your friends and followers from those networks. As Wired's Tim Carmody points out, it's "a little bit creepy" to have the default setting do this, and you have to uncheck a box that automatically broadcasts your reading status too. But there are more granular controls for making public which books you're reading, as well as the passages you highlight.
Amazon isn't the only company to offer this connection between reading and social networks either. Last week, Google too made it easy to share titles of what you're reading from Google Books to Google Plus. And Amazon and Google join a long list of other reading-oriented social networks, such as Goodreads, wherein you can keep track of what you read, as well as what others read, and of course, talk about books.