Using Twitter for book summaries
Every university- or college student has to deal with books to build a foundation of knowledge within a field of expertise. My learning method is no different than method other students use (I Think). This is my method; the first step is using my magic marker to highlight important text. Then I’ll collect the marked area’s and will write them down in a chronological order by using MS Word. finally, I will summarize the most important bits into a readable and coherent text. As far as I know, their is not really a practice of working together in summarizing lectures. Google Docs has the functionality, but I don’t use it often…
I think it would be interesting, as an experiment, to find out if Twitter.com would be a helpful medium to summarize text in a cooperative manner. Thus, collectively building a summary using Twitter.com.
I started of by summarizing Lawrence Lessig’s ‘Free Culture’ (creative commons licence) and putting the important bits into Twitter.com. The result is an bunch of lines (summary-bits), which are structured as followed. A line starts of with the chapter name, e.g. Introduction. It is then followed by quoted text, the author and a page number. (The image will link to the Twitter summary)
A disadvantage I immediately did come across, was the lack of ability to post a comment directly targeted at (under) a twitter post. Howe ever, that’s just not the way Twitter.com (wants to) function(s). If you leave a comment, it will – based on the time of the post – show on top. Twitter’s monologue-logic prefers time over context. Tweakers.net is totally different, but its tree-functionality works!
Another disadvantage of Twitter.com’s functionality was the inability to filter posts. As a result, users have to start reading the summary-bits backwards. Users prefer to read the summary-bits in a chronological order.By using the Twitter-API, I am able to change the summary-bits into a data set, which can be modified. In the picture below, the result of the data set is showing. Because, I’ve used a consistent ‘syntax’ within the text, filtering the data set was easy.
To conclude this little experiment. I think it’s very interesting to think about cooperative ways of writing summaries and micro-blogging. Twitter.com is not the best medium as it is. Due to the lack of direct commenting and filtering. But altering its functionality, for example using its API, will create opportunities. So, I do recommend a forum based structure, like the tweakers.net example. However, building a Twitter clone with adjustments would be the best solution for writing summaries in the future.