I just picked this story up on the Chronicle website. Apparently an academic at Roehampton University has kicked off a trend on twitter by asking whether students and academics should be able to summarise their thesis into the 140 characters of a tweet.

It seems to have opened up quite a debate. A welcome one, I think.

An analysis by Dr Ernesto Priego shows that over 1,200 researchers have given it a go over the past few days.

I’m sure some would argue that this is the ultimate form of dumbing down blah blah and of course taken to its extreme, the suggestion that all research should be boiled down to 140 characters would be preposterous, but that is not what this is about. I posted earlier today about the need for higher education to communicate new discoveries, ideas and theories to the wider population. To succeed, we cannot be picky about the forms of communication that we use.

Not that I would ever suggest that the academy can be pompous or self-indulgent when communicating research findings, but the simple exercise of summarising your thesis into one short sentence must surely be a good habit to get into?

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One response »

  1. Some concepts lend themselves to tweets; some to Haiku; some to a long exposition. I don’t think we can make a general rule about this 🙂

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