Last week, Namnezia made this observation on the Twitterz:
Tweeting skills come in useful when submitting preproposal abstract capped at 750 characters.
I replied as such:
@Namnezia Except u can’t use the same abbrev we use to shorten our tweets in sci abstracts.
To which Namnezia replied with this totally winning tweet:
@microdro Pls fund my MF Sci Proj, cos IMO it’s totes cool and I need $$$, even if sci’s LOL 2 U. YMMV.
I <3. While this ROFL moment was quite enough brilliance, Nam’s original tweet also got me thinking: can Twitter actually serve a purpose outside of social networking by sharpening our skills of pith?
As this idea stewed, I began wading through my PubMed updates on Google Reader. While making the decision to click the link or not from one abstract to the next, I started wondering how well I could summarize some of the more… esoteric articles. Could I do a better job than the authors? Was it possible to summarize the driest of scientific reports on my reading list with more brevity, while still conveying their essence – and maybe even make them sound interesting?*
So here’s an exercise for those out there with some *free* time. Find an obscure scientific article – one of your own, or just on a topic of interest to you – and Twitterize it (i.e., summ in ≤140 char). It took me about 5 minutes to do this with one of the drier articles on my RSS feed. I’m not sure if it was a waste of time or not, but today, as I work up my newest manuscript abstract, I think Nam might be on to something.
*to someone besides myself or others in my sub-sub-sub-field