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U.S. University Offers £23,000 Scholarship to Candidate with the Best Tweet

An American university is offering a business school scholarship worth $37,000 (£23,000) to the candidate who sends in the best tweet.

The University of Iowa wants students to show they have social networking skills, can use the microblogging web site Twitter creatively, and make their point succinctly.

The question they have to answer, in 140 characters or less, is what makes them an "exceptional" candidate for an MBA course.

In their tweeted answer, applicants will be able to include links to their own web sites, blogs, or videos which will help answer the question.

Academics at the University decided to introduce the new, shorter scholarship test in place of the usual 800-word essay. They said the essays were becoming very similar and uncreative.

Colleen Downie, senior assistant dean of the MBA course, said: "Social media has been shown to be a powerful tool for business communication so it makes sense that our applicants demonstrate an ability to use it.

"This is a way for prospective students to show us that they embrace innovation and are comfortable using the kind of media and technology driving so many changes in business."

Jaron Lanier, author of the book You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto, accused the University of "trying to be cool." He said: "They're devaluing their future because they're identifying themselves with a fad rather than something more long term."

The scholarship is privately funded and open to candidates who have been accepted on to the course in the usual way.

Applicant Kinzie Dekkenga told USA Today: "It turns out having to simplify your thoughts down was much harder than I thought. I sat on the Twitter page and just kept typing things, but I was always 100 or 200 characters over."


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