The Case for a Degree in Twitterdemiology
Let’s formalise the positive contribution of Covid-19 Twitter experts
In these challenging times, the University is looking to develop new courses. I suggest we offer a course in “Twitterdemiology”. The degree takes typically 2–3 months to complete, involves sharing, preferably uninformed, opinions on Twitter about the spread of diseases, preferably late at night and slightly drunk. A bonus is you never have to wear a mask during class. Involves some study in terms of looking at the occasional graph on a few websites and making a hasty conclusion. The degree is wholly part-time. The degree strongly appeals to those who like to think they are smarter than others for no good reason other than that social media now allows them to share their views in public unfiltered.
That said, the ability to look at a graph and understand what lines are going up or down is an essential criteria to join the class. Students will only be considered if they enjoy a good conspiracy theory and if they generally think experts are prone to exaggeration. Experience in the field of “Climate Change Denial” will stand you in good stead for this degree. Any former study in basic statistical knowledge is strongly discouraged. In fact, any study of the natural sciences is not considered essential for this course as science often makes things too complicated or produces anomalous results. This is not helpful. The beauty of the degree is that it is short and focused, and graduates will leave being clear in their opinions, which is the real benefit of not considering alternative science-based perspectives. We could roll the degree out to thousands of graduates. The course is online, opening an international market. It is also open access and appeals to all strata of society. Students could even take the course while stuck in residence over Christmas or at any time really. It is cost-effective as it takes fewer resources than the traditional 7–10 years it normally takes to become a competent epidemiologist (in fact the University could start a redundancy process for all those in the natural sciences saving millions).
The course requires limited input from the lecturers, if at all. Some assessment might be necessary for accreditation, but this could take…