Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Why I made a twitter account for my thesis

I made a twitter account for my thesis. I can now have conversations with it, hurl abuse at it or coax it along. Those of you who aren't on twitter probably think I'm mad and have probably stopped reading already. But for those of you still following (no twitter-pun intended), here's the basic justification:


Some people treat their thesis like a job - they go to their office 9-5, they depersonalise the work as if they're on a contract. I've heard some people compare their thesis to a pregnancy - starting at the point where they're metaphorically rubbing their tummy and sighing and drawing attention to it, til they're heavy with knowledge and ready to burst. Some treat it like five (or three or seven) articles rather than one large text. I've heard the thesis compared to a bad relationship, to a constant companion, to many things... so, whatever gets me through. It's a little dissociative, giving the thesis its own personality so I can tweet it, but it makes me laugh. And I think it will help to conceptualise it, to externalise it, to insult it and from time to time say, "Today, thesis, you are going down!" Melodrama is a vastly underestimated coping mechanism. And nobody need know about me talking to my thesis... except I'm telling you about it now. But I had to share.

And anyway, it's fun.
Some of the most entertaining twitter accounts are spoofs (The Queen, Emma Thompson), pop culture mashups (Hipster Dalek, GRAMMARHULK) or various fictional characters (the entire cast of West Wing). So creating a twitter account for my thesis was entertaining. It's not just the concept, but the details. What avatar should it have? What bio? Who would it follow? As I currently envisage my thesis as somewhat evil and megalomaniac, it follows Darth Vader, Voldemort and Death Star PR. As it is sarcastic, it follows Speculative Grammarian. As it is linguistic it follows linguistics publishers. As it is academic, it follows the university, the library and QIkipedia. As it is a little geeky, it follows Thinkgeek. As it is still a little juvenile, it follows DontSayNoSayYes. As it loves data and infographics, it follows Information is Beautiful. And of course it follows ThesisWhisperer because what sort of ThesisWhisperer would ThesisWhisperer be if my thesis did not follow her. And lastly it's following UrDissertation because someone else had this idea before me.

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