Monday, April 6, 2015

Week 10: Writing in Public

This week's topic is "Writing in Public," a topic I did not include in the first iteration of History 717. I thought to include it this year only after reading Twitter accounts of the 2015 AHA meeting, which included a session on Writing in Public. Michele Moravec (Rosemont College) shares her work-in-progress online for readers to engage as she writes.

General questions:
What are the reasons for writing in public?
Would you do it?
Should you advertise it if you do?
Touch on dissertation/thesis embargo question.

Michele Moravec, #writinginpublic
  • How do you pick a platform for writing in public?
  • Why does Moravec write in public? What are other reasons for writing in public? Would you?
  • What are the risks of writing in public?
  • Is writing in public the same as “live writing”?
  • Would you do either?
  • How do you interact with yourself while you write?
  • How does writing in public work as a form of peer review?
  • What kind of “behind the scenes” writing activity might support a written in public project like this? For example, how does the organization emerge? How does revising work? What if the author needs to move things around? How far along in a project do you need to be before you start “writing it in public?” What are the implications of writing in two platforms, using different word processing tools? How would you manage keeping track of two organizational systems? How would you decide what to post in public and what to do in private? How would you leave notes for yourself about what still needed to be done, what you were confused by?
  • How could you use different platforms differently?
  • I’m intrigued by the idea of live commenting. When I am a peer reviewer in a traditional process, the author doesn’t get my comments as I go along. I suppose I could go back and insert them later, but I am too lazy to refigure where they all should go!

Michele Moravec, Politics of Women's Culture manuscript:
  • [Note that I end up with almost no substantive questions about this work, probably because it is so far afield for me. I can’t tell what might be known from previous scholarship and what is really new here, since I just am not immersed in that literature]
  • How did you decide how to navigate through the book?
  • Did you read the comments as you went along?
  • If an author puts up images in a work in progress written in public, does she have to get permissions for them the same way she would with a “published” work?
  • What argument could you get from the work in progress? Perhaps start with small groups to see what they think the argument is. Perhaps like trying to identify the elephant with a blindfold on?
  • What is this project about?
  • Do you feel like you need to read the finished book?
  • How would you handle footnoting if writing in public? How would footnoting integrate with the use of a program like Zotero or RefWorks that handled many of the fine details for you?
  • I wonder why comments are closed on the section on The Journal of Women’s History. I wanted to ask of paragraph 6 whether there are archives that would show the process by which authors decided what to do with their pieces and what to respond to. I’m sure I am only thinking of this because of reading in the open peer review format of this manuscript.

Cohen and Rosenzweig chapter 5, “Building an Audience
  • Do you respond to the idea of marketing in the negative way that Cohen and Rosenzweig assume?
  • Should writing in public be regarded as a form of marketing by building an audience?
  • How might you build an audience for the group projects you are working on?
  • How does Google work, according to Cohen and Rosenzweig?
  • What is the difference between “hits” and “visitors” and “users”?
  • What are some reliable ways of figuring out why users come to your site?

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