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Forget an Essay; Earn a Scholarship With a Tweet 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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Forget an Essay; Earn a Scholarship With a Tweet

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  • And we fell for it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by paiute ( 550198 ) on Friday December 09, 2011 @12:01PM (#38315298)
    20 grand outlay - at most - in return for many times that in free publicity. KFC wins this round.
    • by mad flyer ( 589291 ) on Friday December 09, 2011 @12:05PM (#38315340)

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

    • 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: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by cusco ( 717999 )
        "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.
        • I got dibbs on "Finger lickin' good!".
        • by RivenAleem ( 1590553 ) on Friday December 09, 2011 @12:46PM (#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.

          • 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?"

        • 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?
        • by tbird81 ( 946205 )

          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.

      • 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...."

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

          • 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.

    • by ShavedOrangutan ( 1930630 ) on Friday December 09, 2011 @12:18PM (#38315490)
      This from the same corporation that anchored a target for the Mir space station in the South Pacific []. The ad campaign made more headlines than the actual deorbit or Mir. Whoever came up with that idea deserved a huge bonus.
  • 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...

  • Originality (Score:1, Insightful)

    by HWMTM ( 2500070 )
    Application essays were becoming "unoriginal," and yet they expect *more* originality in 140 characters or less?
    • No, they expect more originality in a photo. Which, as we all know, is worth a thousand words.

    • 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.

      • Six word stories [] 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 sin

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • For Sale. Baby shoes. Never used.

  • by tycoex ( 1832784 ) on Friday December 09, 2011 @12:10PM (#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 (Score:4, Insightful)

      by cupantae ( 1304123 ) <maroneill&gmail,com> on Friday December 09, 2011 @12:13PM (#38315430)

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

      • 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.

        • 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.

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

    Twitter post.

    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.

  • ... our education system is failing, I'd say this is it.

  • Wow (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pak9rabid ( 1011935 ) on Friday December 09, 2011 @12:15PM (#38315452) 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?
    • 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 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by forkfail ( 228161 ) on Friday December 09, 2011 @12:25PM (#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.

      • We flock to watch Snookie, but refuse to take the time to teach our kids how to spell.

        Like we really need that. C is for Snookie, that's good enough for me.

    • 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.

  • by AdamJS ( 2466928 ) on Friday December 09, 2011 @12:19PM (#38315502)

    Take a picture of yourself giving a bucket of KFC (tm) to people in a homeless shelter.

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

  • This one's been around for a while, but it never gets old. []

  • 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...

  • 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 i
  • 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.
    • I recall these postcard contests faded when personal printers could churn them out by the tens of thousands.

      . . . which is why the Kremlin says, "All your scholarships belong to me!" . . . []

    • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.
  • The evolution of mathematics education []
    A farmer sells a bag of potatoes for $10. His production costs are $8 and his profit is $2. Underline the word "potatoes" and discuss with your classmates.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    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?
    Partial credit!

  • Judging a photo (Score:4, Insightful)

    by werepants ( 1912634 ) on Friday December 09, 2011 @01:21PM (#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.
  • I'm taking a pic of a chicken riding a cow.

  • use the essay portion of a scholarship to support STEM efforts by accepting literature reviews of scholarly articles for essays.
  • to get its bachelor degree!

"It takes all sorts of in & out-door schooling to get adapted to my kind of fooling" - R. Frost