OxTweet under fire for showing ‘realistic’ Oxford

Award-winning social media access scheme OxTweet has come under scrutiny after it was claimed that some of its participants were presenting a negative image of life at the University.

Questions have been raised over the candid nature of tweets published by members of the scheme, ranging from, “Stats was no fun, no fun whatsoever… #horrific #oxtweet”, while another tweeted: “Still so fuckered I can’t walk”.

These were described by one undergraduate as “a bit awkward, considering this scheme is meant to promote a good image of the University”. Another stated that tweets such as, “referenced 27 different academic papers in essay – better be good enough for tutor… oh, this is oxford, your best is never enough #oxtweet” were not the most encouraging for potential applicants.

The online programme, which received funding from OUSU Council earlier this term, sees current Oxford students take to Twitter to post updates detailing their life at Oxford. The accounts are subject-specific and encourage questions from potential applicants. One of the most honest in its depiction of Oxford life is the Oxford Biologist account which regualrly features the after-effects of nights out and the joys of whiskey consumption.

The scheme has proven popular and together the accounts have hundreds of followers. It was described in a recent OUSU Council meeting as a “level playing field for anyone from any background and country to ask questions”, and its founder won a prize earlier this term.

Not all shared this view of the wildness of an Oxford degree, with one of the scheme’s participants claiming that most of its output is “monumentally dull”. The anonymous OxTweeter also claimed that other members of the scheme hold “niche” opinions, and suggested that potential applicants to Oxford could be turned away by OxTweet rather than inspired.

In comments made to The Oxford Student, the OxTweeter said “tweets about essay crises and tea” were unrepresentative of Oxford life.

“If I (and everyone else I’ve spoken to about this) was a potential applicant, and saw most of the twee, inane OxTweets about tea and minor illnesses, I’d run a mile,” he added.

Less candid tweets included “It’s somewhat reassuring to see that the jokes in parliament have changed little since 1628 #oxtweet” and “Having breakfast in the maths institute cafe while working on problem sheets. Resisting urge to get another chocolate brownie #nom #OxTweet”.

OxTweet’s founder and former Magdalen JCR Vice President Jamie Miles, who won an OxTalent Award for Outreach and Engagement for his work on the scheme, said honesty was “vital” to the success of OxTweet:

“OxTweet was created to provide an honest account of Oxford from all perspectives. An undergraduate degree is a three or four year commitment, so having information on all of the potential warts and wonders of university life is vital to ensuring that everyone makes the right choice for them,” he said.

The OxTweeter who made the claims that parts of the scheme were “monumentally dull” also believes most OxTweeters are “part of a small minority of students who don’t really interact with the wider student body, and who hold what might be described as niche opinions.”He claimed his own OxTweet account “presented a much more balanced, representative and honest commentary on student life at Oxford”, and that “a lot of tweets don’t even mention what kind of work the student is doing, so whoever is reading has nothing to engage with,” he added.