J.K. Rowling, in an interview, said she took extensive notes on Hogwarts and her characters, but that these notes were for her rather than for her readers.
At Computers and Writing last week, I realized that my best Twitter posts came when I replaced my standard note-taking in Google Docs with pure Twitter. Since I wasn’t taking my “long” notes, I could compose and edit to the 140-character constraints. And I fielded two questions from folks outside a panel to the panelists, and connected scholars I’d just met to scholars I’ve never met.
So some clear social benefits…but what about the loss in attention? I know I missed more points from the presentations than I normally would have. Would it have been better to take lengthy notes and then post those to Twitter? Or to post some highlights after-the-fact? Instead, I simplified many points to fit them into that 140-character limit. But is that all bad? I did figure out how to summarize things that I might not have been able to summarize before.
But this leaves me wondering about the ethics of this little website project. Will I exaggerate points to being in audience? Is it responsible to share my research notes before they’ve fully “matured” within the space of a paper? And then there is the certain constraint of social discourses – there are some notes I won’t write here. Will they remain forever unwritten because this is where I’m doing my writing?