JK Rowling – Not everything goes in the book

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?

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