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Forget an Essay; Earn a Scholarship With a Tweet

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the a-picture's-only-worth-140-characters-now dept.

Education 99

PolygamousRanchKid writes with this quote from a CNN article: "The Kentucky Fried Chicken Foundation is asking eligible high school seniors to tweet a photo that illustrates their commitment to education and enriching their communities. The KFC Colonel's Scholars winner, announced December 15, will receive up to $5,000 per year to pursue a bachelor's degree at a public university in his or her home state. ... Other organizations, perhaps weary of wading through applicants' lengthy essays, also are offering eager students ways to turn a 140-character message into money for college. ... Why a tweet? Jodi Schafer, the University of Iowa's director of MBA admissions and financial aid, told USA Today that application essays were 'becoming unoriginal.' She said 'we're hoping that incorporating social media in the process will help bring back some of that creativity.'"

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99 comments

And we fell for it (4, Insightful)

paiute (550198) | more than 2 years ago | (#38315298)

20 grand outlay - at most - in return for many times that in free publicity. KFC wins this round.

Re:And we fell for it (3, Insightful)

mad flyer (589291) | more than 2 years ago | (#38315340)

I don't exactly see where the problem might be ? Did they kill somebody to get the fund ?

Re:And we fell for it (4, Insightful)

paiute (550198) | more than 2 years ago | (#38315444)

I don't exactly see where the problem might be ? Did they kill somebody to get the fund ?

It isn't a problem. I salute the KFC marketing department. They figured out how to get maximum publicity and goodwill with a minimum investment.

Re:And we fell for it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38318652)

Their whole business model boils down to killing people with shit food.

Re:And we fell for it (1)

RivenAleem (1590553) | more than 2 years ago | (#38315404)

Wow, what an innovative marketing campaign. It may also change the future of how scholarships are granted, making the process much leaner and promoting original works, not plagiarism.

Re:And we fell for it (1, Interesting)

cusco (717999) | more than 2 years ago | (#38315524)

"Original work"

Seriously? A statement only slightly longer than a politician's sound bite is "work"?? Your short little post would be too long for a tweet, actually. There are only so many possible combinations of words that can be fit into 140 characters and still make a sentence. KFC will probably collect them all in this one competition.

Re:And we fell for it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38315646)

Because this one implementation of it is the example of every single one after, of course. Willing to bet the winning Tweet will be more insightful than your poor post.

Re:And we fell for it (4, Funny)

RivenAleem (1590553) | more than 2 years ago | (#38315800)

Did you read the summary? They are to Tweet a photo, last I heard they are capable of more than 140 characters, there's a famous saying in there somewhere.

Re:And we fell for it (1)

bickerdyke (670000) | more than 2 years ago | (#38317032)

something as famous as "why the heck do I have to sign up to some ad-supported online service instead of simply mailing the pic in?"

Re:And we fell for it (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38316258)

On the other hand, almost anyone can say something if given enough words. The ability to be pithy is highly valued, historically and in today's society. How many famous quotes do you know or have often heard that are much longer than a tweet?

Re:And we fell for it (1)

tbird81 (946205) | more than 2 years ago | (#38323118)

If this some popped into anyone else's head: 26^140 = 1 248 155 560 712 888 693 721 116 035 178 646 463 649 590 092 724 076 699 557 919 198 775 318 840 655 335 967 337 203 969 601 545 498 350 937 608 330 255 529 112 180 176 094 892 997 792 623 787 890 917 357 870 916 489 701 094 150 005 153 729 071 148 146 282 725 376

Obviously most of those are not sentences. And it ignores spaces and punctuation.

Re:And we fell for it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38329730)

Inb4 they start giving out scholarships to clown school in exchange for lolcats.

Re:And we fell for it (0)

forkfail (228161) | more than 2 years ago | (#38315638)

If you define work representative of effort and display of potential to get a slot in our increasingly limited availability higher education system as a tweet, sure.

To quote: "I don't want to live on this planet any more...."

Re:And we fell for it (1)

RivenAleem (1590553) | more than 2 years ago | (#38315820)

But it's a Photo they are looking for. It is possible to put a lot of work into a single photo.

Re:And we fell for it (2)

forkfail (228161) | more than 2 years ago | (#38316146)

OK, here's another way to put it.

I'd rather see the kid who can write a twitter client go to school than the one who uses it to tweet.

And after all that... (1, Insightful)

cupantae (1304123) | more than 2 years ago | (#38315310)

they were just looking for someone to kiss their asses in a tweet. This isn't about pithy expression, they just wanted something that works as relatively cheap advertising.

Move along, now...

Let me guess (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38315320)

Some dolled up preppy trust fund kid will win with a picture of her and some children in a small town in Africa.

Re:Let me guess (1)

fotoflojoe (982885) | more than 2 years ago | (#38316490)

Some dolled up preppy trust fund kid will win with a picture of her and some children in a small town in Africa.

While eating fried chicken? Betcha that comes off as racist.

Obligatory XKCD (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38315332)

Unrelated XKCD (0)

Crudely_Indecent (739699) | more than 2 years ago | (#38315394)

Did you just post the URL of a random XKCD?

Re:Unrelated XKCD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38315550)

Perhaps, but you just used your karma bonus to make sure everyone has to see it.

Re:Unrelated XKCD (1)

martas (1439879) | more than 2 years ago | (#38315558)

Yes he did, I'm pretty sure he's that one troll that has been going around spilling his bile at every "oblig xkcd" post the last couple of days, and is now trying to supply justification for his strange obsession.

Re:Unrelated XKCD (1)

Crudely_Indecent (739699) | more than 2 years ago | (#38315908)

I find that almost all XKCD links posted on /. are relevant. Just not this one. And I've never spilled bile in the direction of XKCD.

Had the subject read "Random XKCD" or "Unrelated XKCD" I would have accepted that and moved on without comment.

Re:Unrelated XKCD (1)

martas (1439879) | more than 2 years ago | (#38318780)

Wat? I wasn't saying you're the one spilling bile, I was talking about the AC you replied to (hence saying "he" when directing myself to you). I fully agreed with you -- he did post a completely unrelated xkcd.

Re:Unrelated XKCD (1)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 2 years ago | (#38315562)

I've done that before instead of actually looking up the relevant XKCD and gotten modded up for it; but I only did it when the relevant XKCD was well known like "little bobby tables"

KFC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38315338)

How many pictures will the get of chickens being choked?

Re:KFC (2)

Cragen (697038) | more than 2 years ago | (#38315406)

Or, maybe, "Send me $5000 or the chicken gets choked!"

Re:KFC (2)

RivenAleem (1590553) | more than 2 years ago | (#38315432)

If you are planning to do a degree in how masturbation effects stress levels, it might be totally appropriate.

Oblig. grammar nazi reply (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38316466)

If you are planning to do a degree in how masturbation effects stress levels, it might be totally appropriate.

2effect
verb \i-fekt, e-, -, -\
transitive verb
1: to cause to come into being

I think you'll find that correlation to be negative instead of positive, try re-wording your hypothesis...

Re:KFC (1)

Dragonslicer (991472) | more than 2 years ago | (#38316638)

masturbation effects stress levels

If that happens, I'm pretty sure you're doing it wrong.

Originality (1, Insightful)

HWMTM (2500070) | more than 2 years ago | (#38315360)

Application essays were becoming "unoriginal," and yet they expect *more* originality in 140 characters or less?

Re:Originality (2)

ajo_arctus (1215290) | more than 2 years ago | (#38315480)

Why not? It's widely believed that working within limitations can spur creativity.

"For a long time I limited myself to one color – as a form of discipline." -- Pablo Picasso

Twitter can be like painting in one color. It really forces you to think about the words you are using to express yourself and make yourself understood.

Re:Originality (2)

b4dc0d3r (1268512) | more than 2 years ago | (#38315986)

Six word stories [wired.com] have been very enlightening.

In support - learning to improvise, usually in jazz, is sometimes a difficult thing to kick-start. Playing the same pattern, adjusting pitch to match the chord changes, is a standard technique. Play the same thing over and over, pretty soon your brain just wants to do something different.

I've seen well-known people hit a mental block (it's obvious once you listen to piles of them playing the same tune differently). The easy way to get out of it is sit on a single note, or a simple rhythm, until you get inspired. People like to say it's a clever use of repetition to establish expectations and then break those expectations. It might be, sometimes.

Lots of new things in art have been a result of limitations which force you to think in new ways.

Re:Originality (2)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 2 years ago | (#38315632)

Better yet, if most of the essays are unoriginal why not just pick the ones that are original as the winners and post the archive of all past winners so people know what you're looking for. Most high school students think the scholarship funds and colleges want the boiler plate, "this is why I deserve your attention" type essay. It's up to you to lay out the recommendations and ground rules if you really want something beyond that.

Faster evaluations (1)

dtmos (447842) | more than 2 years ago | (#38318540)

I think they were getting more and more duplicate essays copied, at least in part, from web sites.

When the essay is limited to 140 characters, identifying the unoriginal essays is by inspection -- there are only so many possible variations. Longer ones have to be actually read to confirm their unoriginality.

Complainers (2)

tycoex (1832784) | more than 2 years ago | (#38315384)

For those complaining that this is just a way to get cheap advertisement... Who cares?

Would you rather a company get their advertisement by helping kids go to college or by paying some huge advertisement firm?

Does their motives really matter in this case? I'd much rather the get their advertisement by helping people than paying for ads.

Re:Complainers (3, Insightful)

cupantae (1304123) | more than 2 years ago | (#38315430)

My complaint is that the winning entry read like an advertisement, so the apparent focus of the competition was dishonest

Re:Complainers (1)

thesandtiger (819476) | more than 2 years ago | (#38316230)

You've been to the future and you've seen the winner already?

Fuck telling us about the KFC contest, tell us about any upcoming big tragedies so we can save some lives! I guess if things have been pretty calm the winning numbers for all the various state lotteries will work.

Re:Complainers (1)

cupantae (1304123) | more than 2 years ago | (#38316304)

Sorry, I've written a few comments to this effect. In my defence, I was talking about a twitter competition, which has already happened. TFS treats the twitter and photo competition as the same thing (mentioning 140 characters, etc.), so I suppose that's why I did too.

Here is some REAL complaining! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38318184)

F_CK KFC take their poisonous "food", their sub-poverty line "careers", their ugly restaurants and their $5000.

$5000 won't buy an education, and kids shouldn't have to sell-out to these creeps in order to get one anyway.

0.00014 Megapixels (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 2 years ago | (#38315386)

Kentucky Fried Chicken Foundation is asking eligible high school seniors to tweet a photo that illustrates their commitment to education

Twitter post.
Photo.

Choose one.

A link to a photo perhaps? If so -- Well, will I get demerits for linking to a blog post with photos, an essay, and comments from the community extolling my dedication to education? Won't the "tweet" be significantly less than 140 characters due to the linked image?

We're seriously not talking a a 10x14 pixel image... I hope.

Re:0.00014 Megapixels (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38315684)

We're seriously not talking a a 10x14 pixel image... I hope.

Honestly, ASCII Art Chicken Leg was my first thought. Too bad my GIMP-Fu sucks or I'd go for the $20K.

Wow (3, Insightful)

pak9rabid (1011935) | more than 2 years ago | (#38315452)

Wow...you guys are a bunch of ungreatful asshats. Who cares why they're doing it, the fact is that they're letting somebody go to school on their dime. What's so evil about that?

Re:Wow (1)

ExtremeSupreme (2480708) | more than 2 years ago | (#38315518)

ungrateful, even. Also, the entries so far are really, really bad. And the requisite white winner is still unrepresented - most entries are black people. KFC will not let that fly. Bring in the cute white chicks with $2,000 clothes.

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38315624)

I'm going to guess where you live are all chicks with $2000 clothes, but go down south or to your local ghetto and tell me what you see at KFC... and if some chick can get $2000 clothes why would they bother with a schoolarship?

Re:Wow (5, Insightful)

forkfail (228161) | more than 2 years ago | (#38315580)

As a society and nation, we cut funding for education from kindergarten through high school; we slash Pell grants and jack up the interest on student loans.

In a global economy where the one thing that we still do quite well is innovation and technology, we make it progressively harder and harder for the next generation to go to school.

On top of this, we allow science to become political and overly influenced by corporate interests, and all too often treat intelligence and knowledge with mistrust. We flock to watch Snookie, but refuse to take the time to teach our kids how to spell.

So - given this as a backdrop - tweeting for a chance to go to school just seems wrong. Not surprising, but it definitely feeds into the culture of mediocrity that we're building for ourselves.

tomany people are going to college tech apprentice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38316106)

to many people are going to college tech jobs needs apprenticeships not theory loaded class room

Re:tomany people are going to college tech apprent (1)

forkfail (228161) | more than 2 years ago | (#38316232)

Wrong again.

I'm originally self taught, and made pretty good money as a C coder before I figured out I should really go back to school, and get the math, theory and general engineering skills I realized I was missing.

It was one of the best choices I made during my life.

There's a lot more to technical jobs than pressing buttons, knowing things by rote and knowing the incantations to make the magic systems work.

Another advantage of going to school is that one learns to spell, use good grammar and other writing and communication skills.

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38318606)

Education is not the barrier to innovation. Patent law and anticompetitive behavior are the barriers.

More money thrown at public education won't increase innovation. It will just increase the availablity of educated workers in a market that primarily needs cheap (stupid) labor. As a side-effect, it will probably also increase prescriptions for antidepressant medication.

Sometimes acheiving a goal requires a little more thought than "throw more resources at it!"

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38315634)

Asshats, yes, ungrateful, no.
 
We didn't get awarded the scholarship, therefore we are unable to be ungrateful.

Re:Wow (1)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 2 years ago | (#38317124)

There is nothing evil about it. It's just a brilliant marketing strategy. The fact that you're injecting your own cynicism is your own issue.

Plenty Evil (1)

PeanutButterBreath (1224570) | more than 2 years ago | (#38318264)

Their product is comprehensively evil, from its inhumane production to its unhealthy effects on its victims, er, consumers. Thus, promoting it is also evil.

Why a tweet? (1)

Pope (17780) | more than 2 years ago | (#38315522)

Because it takes way less effort to make and to judge! Win-win all around.

Times have changed (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#38315536)

When I was looking for scholarships about 6 years ago, KFC required something like a half dozen short essays on various idiotic topics. Now you send them a picture. Times have changed...

"unoriginal"??? (1)

martas (1439879) | more than 2 years ago | (#38315538)

Isn't something FUCKED UP here? Here's a suggestion -- if you want students to be original in their essays, then don't reward them based on how many catch phrases about "diversity", "community service", and all that bullshit. Reward essays that 1) tell you something good about the student, and 2) tell you SOMETHING about the student other than their ability to understand and replicate what ridiculous pseudopolitical buzzword gibberish you happen to be enamored with due to some passing fad.

God damn this is ridiculous...

Heinlein's "Have Space Suit, Will Travel" (1)

peter303 (12292) | more than 2 years ago | (#38315578)

One wins a prize by submitting a "slogan" on a postcard. Enter as often as you wish> I think these contests occurred mid-century. I recall these postcard contests faded when personal printers could churn them out by the tens of thousands.

Coolidge's "Real Genius" (1)

Pope (17780) | more than 2 years ago | (#38316650)

Lazlo: I heard you were studying for Hathaway's test so I dug through the computer and found every question Hathaway's ever asked on every final he's ever given.

Chris: I didn't get you anything! Are those they?

Lazlo: No, these are entries for the Frito-Lay sweepstakes, no purchase necessary, enter as often as you like, so I am. This batch makes 1,650,000. I figure I should win 32.4% of the prizes, including the car.

Chris: Kinda takes the fun out of it, doesn't it?

Lazlo: Yes, well, I've come to realize that I have certain materialistic needs, and they made up the rules...

Unoriginal? (2)

koan (80826) | more than 2 years ago | (#38315612)

I think that's the idea you sort through the "unoriginal" essays until you find the talent, the person that would benefit the most by an education.

Sounds like the attention spans are dropping across the board for every age group now.

Not a tweet (1)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 2 years ago | (#38315614)

They tweet a photo, and the photo is judged. not the Tweet.

This isn't much different than tweeting a link to an essay. Just because 'twitter' is mentioned somewhere in the story, doesn't mean the twitter is the most important part of the story.

Partial credit! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38315652)

Now turn to the next problem. If you have three Pepsis and drink one, how much more refreshed are you? You, the redhead in the Chicago school system?
Pepsi?
Partial credit!

SMELL your CHICKENS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38315772)

what if chickens had lips and a 12" tongue? would they smell of cattle or of joy?

Look at us helping over here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38316090)

pay no attention to the damage our rotten food is doing to the youth.

Judging a photo (3, Insightful)

werepants (1912634) | more than 2 years ago | (#38316264)

I personally don't see the problem with judging a photo instead of an essay. Especially since it isn't something that students will have already done 100 of, so it will likely inspire more creativity and originality. A really good photo can say just as much as a good essay, and is arguably harder to put together. Plus it is easier to judge and easier to show off when you announce the winner.

That said, the "tweet" angle isn't really relevant or helpful, but I think it is just a way to get more eyeballs and try to appeal to younger folks. It seems to be working, at any rate.

Dear Poor People, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38317012)

You should have spent your last paycheck on an internet connection instead of rent, then maybe we'd help you out with a college education. Have fun continuing to be poor and wolfing down our food because vegetables are more expensive than cola.

Regards,
KFC

Goatse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38317788)

I wonder what picture the goatse guy is going to "tweet"...

My guess is that he will purse a degree in Astronomy, studying...well...you get the idea.

why not (1)

node636 (2526762) | more than 2 years ago | (#38320506)

use the essay portion of a scholarship to support STEM efforts by accepting literature reviews of scholarly articles for essays.
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