Twitter has opened new opportunities for students to cheat, when faced with a pressing deadline on a writing assignment. Tweets must be short, but are perfect to cry for help and a quick hookup with a ghost writer.
The magic words are not “open sesame” but some combination of “pay,” “write,” and “essay.” Take Twitter user Olli Brackstone, who wrote, “I would literally pay someone to write my essay,” and received about two dozen responses — many within hours of posting the tweet — angling to do the job, as reported by Chris Quintana, in the Chronicle of Higher Education. (Mr. Brackstone, the student, obviously needs help, first in dropping the word “literally.” An English prof would be all over that one. “Totally” is also bad. Totally bad!)
Online cheating is nothing new, but Twitter offers immediacy and opportunities for individual entrepreneurship. Some ghost writers will do the job for five dollars a page, perhaps placing it in the sweet spot for the typical community college student. Cash transfers are easily arranged, with a little creativity. Come to think of it, the project could provide training for a future in black marketing and tax evasion. This looks like a job for Russians, especially if the paper is on Dostoyevsky or Tolstoy. What could go wrong? Vlad Baby! You want rubles or bitcoin?
One commentator cited in the piece advises faculty members to establish Twitter accounts to monitor the situation and “undercut the competition.” This seems like a really bad idea for some reason, perhaps because so many people these days have gotten themselves into tweet trouble, including giants of commerce and mighty potentates. On the other hand, the President of the United States uses Twitter to get around the pesky mainstream media and go directly to his base. Who needs the State of the Union speech? So many words! SAD!