Thursday, May 05, 2005

Amazon, SIPS, and Digital Customer Service

Judging a Book by Its Contents: "Amazon.com's Statistically Improbable Phrases aren't just a parlor game that condenses a book to its very essence. They're also a way to move curious readers through the retailer's vast catalog. By Ryan Singel." From Wired Online

Amazon is now using del.icio.us and flickr tagging technology to attract more online book shoppers. It seems that being the largest online book distributer and the only site both parents and kids can discuss around of plate of pork chops and mashed potatoes isn't enough for Amazon. By applying tags to books utilizing common words found within the text and familiar, generic plot descriptions, shoppers will essentially be able to google-search any book in Amazon's inventory for a specific subject-matter.

Amazon starts it; it won't be long before other online shopping sites will begin doing the same, ultimately discouraging people from leaving their homes for the lure of department store sales and interraction.

In my commentary for Eyebrow Esquire, I referenced another Wired article about how advances in technology such as video games and the Internet are actually making us smarter. With all these advances, mostly in the realm of the World Wide Web, it seems that we're forgetting the importance of human interraction. With the wealth of knowledge available on the internet, what reason can there be for us to go out and meet new people. I'm fearful that technology may be the end of civilization - not in the conspiracy-theory or Matrix sense, but in the context that we're moving away from physical interaction into one via computer connections.

Now more than ever, kids keep in touch with parents through e-mail and cell phones, but what happened to talking about your day at work or school around a table at dinnertime - not to mention the social revolution happening on university campuses around the nation (it's hard to introduce yourself while walking between classes if everyone is talking on their cell phones). I'm not calling for the end of the Internet or anything of the sort; I'm simply hoping people do not forget that a real sunset is much better seen when you're outside on your front porch.

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