The Customized Life

I am sure this is not a new idea - I have not checked. I was thinking about the five eras of the social web by Jeremiah Owyang, specifically in our reading materials.

What if when you read a book/magazine/periodical in a digital format (like online or downloaded for a Kindle) the book changed based on your profile? I am 99% sure someone must have already begun work on this, but bear with me.

Let's say I buy a mystery novel for reading on my browser or iPhone. When I buy it, it accesses my profile info information. Then before and while I read, the content would actually morph so that the story's city was in my city (the weather, current news in my area, etc.), the love interest's traits would change to my personal preferences in a love interest, the style of music played by the protagonist matched my favorites while the villain listened to Rush Limbaugh.

When I read the world news it would use my job, hobbies, and family makeup to make its story content connect to my personal life and present/future situation, and use my past experiences to make stories relatable to me by using familiar schema I would understand.

My individual preferences would be stored in some sort of hyper-detailed personal online profile that I would update like I do my auto fill information in a Google toolbar. Of course, there are many people who would be scared of volunteering such personal information into the cloud, but there are constantly more and more people who will volunteer this information, and it is already happening more on social media sites.

I'd probably do it. It would be so cool to see a protagonist have the same circumstances as me - a completely relatable read. Weaving the reader's details into their pre-written work would be a technical and artistic challenge of syntax finesse from this new breed of authors. Maybe the reader/user could select the level of 'match' that the story would make with one's personal life. Is the story in your very neighborhood or just somewhere in your state? Is someone you know kidnapped or just vaguely familiar to a past friend? That would all be a part of the fun.

I wonder what it will do the the lines of reality and virtual. "Last night, that dream I had, was it based on something that happened in my real life or in the story I was reading? Both? Wait... am I supposed to call someone or was that just...?"

Yeah, I'd definitely do it.