It could be dismissed as just another nonsensical tweet, one of many that fill the social media space. But a closer look reveals the post is followed by a hashtag — #surrenderyoursay — and a link to www.surrenderyoursay.com
The site is home to a new project from the Tourette Syndrome Foundation of Canada. “Build a biscuit, put a sheepdog on top” is actually a verbal tic, and it’s been posted to @sammsy’s feed as part of project designed to raise awareness about Tourette Syndrome.
Users can surrender their Twitter feeds to the project for 24 hours. During that time, a program will post tweets containing real-life verbal tics, sent to the foundation from people who have Tourette Syndrome. These can be anything from random sounds like “ins ins ins” to swear words to illogical sentences.
“We were trying to think of a way to get people to experience Tourette Syndrome,” art director Rachel Kennedy said. “Twitter is sort of like your online voice… you’re judged on the things you are saying.”
People with Tourette Syndrome suffer from involuntary tics, which can be either verbal or physical. Physical tics may include jumping or twitching. People with the syndrome describe a tic like a sneeze — impossible to hold in without extreme discomfort.
Many know it only as the “swearing disease,” but only about 10% of people with Tourette Syndrome swear, says Cathy Wylie, president of the Tourette Syndrome Foundation of Canada.
“The people who have Tourette are really the same as the rest of us, with just these tics added in,” Wylie said. “It doesn’t affect anything else in their life.”