When I’m writing conversationally (e-mails, Facebook, blogs, etc), I have a habit of using sidenotes. I put my sidenotes in parentheses and sometimes I even start the sidenote with “sidenote:” to warn readers.
I enjoy using sidenotes because I can include unnecessary (and usually humorous) comments. Readers can choose whether or not they read the sidenotes; my writing will make sense with or without them.
Sidenotes allow me to add my own commentary (and everyone likes to add their own commentary) without interrupting the flow of the piece…sort of. The sidenotes can be distracting, but that’s okay. I think they make things more entertaining to read (for instance, in this sidenote I could put “banana monkey plane” and no one would really care).
No matter how much I like sidenotes (a lot), I would never use them in a professional piece (RFP, report, formal letter, etc.) like I use them in my personal, day-to-day writing. Sidenotes certainly have their place in professional pieces, but they’re generally not used for humor or random comments like how I use them.
Now obviously I’ve used more sidenotes than usual in this post (that’s on purpose. I mean, come on, this is a post praising sidenotes). But I really do like them. They’re a great way to put optional (sometimes unrelated) content into your writing.
(Sidenote: I just wanted to end this post with a sidenote: There’s no “I” in team.)