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From: To: Subject: Jon Everyone What are Hovernotes?

What are Hovernotes?

So, if youre getting this, you are probably a part of my vast circle of friends and followers one of of the social media networks I frequent. Incidentally, to the best of my recollection Im the most active on Facebook, Twitter, Scribd, and Fridge. I also maintain several fan pages, three of which are dedicated to the communities of Marlette, Shepherd, and Hartland. A Hovernote is basically a document which is directed at a specific person or audience. My goal is to write one or two Hovernotes per week, distribute them to the appropriate audience, and then eventually republish them as a collection for wider release. Ive actually been toying around with the idea of Hovernote as a type of published document (You can see my earlier attempts here) for a while, but it wasnt until recently that I started to consider that they would work better if I wrote them as if they were letters. You see, a long time ago before the Internet (or, at least before I had discovered the Internet) I was a rather prolific letter writer. While I was at college, I would often write letters to my parents, friends, or for a while even to a pen pal or two. Even though I typed my letters, they tended to be a few pages long. I was thinking about those days when I wrote letters, and asked myself why it was so easy for me to write letters back then, yet its such a challenge for me to write posts for a blog today. I think that the answer is that when I wrote letters, I would often have someone specific in mind. So, for me it was a lot like having a conversation. Content on the web reaches such a broad audience today (think, the world) that it is practically impossible to write something that will appeal to everyone. One other way that the letter format helps, is that it has a defined beginning and end. Sure, blog posts are done when you submit them, but then you can always go back and update them if something changes. A letter format also gives me the sense that my work is permanent and somehow unchangeable.

A bigger picture This all started because I wanted to find a way to communicate with an audience faster. The problem was that newsletters took too long to assemble, but blogs were too time consuming if I wanted to keep tabs on everything that happened (or, sometimes the problem is that not enough happens). At the same time, there are times when I want to | Notes from Jon | Facebook | Twitter | Ph:989-272-2779

tell everybody the same thing, and other times when I only want to share a certain piece of news with a specific part of my audience. For example, photos of my kids last days of school might appeal more to family members than, say, my co-workers. So, this meant that certain parts of my audience would need to hear only specific news about my life, or Id have to write several versions at once. I havent worked out the problem of sharing content with audiences, although I have been experimenting with ways to publish content so that it can easily be shared in both a printed and an electronic format. In other words, formatted to fit the page and easy to view on the computer screen. This has also lead to a bit of a paradigm shift. As someone trained in the profession of Journalism, it was automatic for me to view content as parts of a greater whole, such as a publication. But, as web companies have invented innovative ways to share content-Flipboard comes to mind--Ive started to wonder if the focus should be on the content itself. Publications, or the medium, are only a delivery system for content. So a Hovernote is an example of a piece of content which can be distributed in many different formats. As I mentioned above, Im on a lot of different networks so I serve a wide range of audiences and segments. When I publish a Hovernote, Ill be using a separate system to simultaneously distribute a link to that document to as much of my audience as I want. Stay Tuned
When Im writing a Hovernote, I see myself as more than a publisher. Im a host sharing news and perhaps entertaining an audience, Im a content jockey highlighting parts of the web, and Im an author creating something brand-new. I think that another part of the paradigm shift for content is that the work doesnt begin and end with a piece of work is published. Each Hovernote will contain links or information which allows readers to interact with me, by emailing me questions, or posting comments. I am expecting to follow up with each Hovernote. Furthermore, the hovernotes are living documents, and my plan is to republish them later with updates, improvements, or readers comments included. Along the same lines of interactivity, one of the advantages of the letter format is that traditionally it invites a response. So, Im welcoming readers to respond to me using the usual web-based channels, or respond by writing a hovernote of your own. | Notes from Jon | Facebook | Twitter | Ph:989-272-2779