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Twitter users learn what it’s like to have Tourette Syndrome

Thousands let #SurrenderYourSay hijack their accounts to simulate what those with Tourette Syndrome experience every day.


Kris Holt


Posted on Jun 20, 2013   Updated on Jun 1, 2021, 1:04 pm CDT

Thousands of Twitter users are giving up their accounts for a day to let them get a glimpse at what it’s like to live with the almost-impossible-to-control tics associated with Tourette Syndrome.

“Imagine if you tweeted something embarrassing, offensive, or just plain weird – and you had no control over it,” the Surrender Your Say site reads. “That’s what it’s like to have Tourette Syndrome.”

While the volunteers still have access to their accounts and tweet as normal, the Tourette Syndrome Foundation of Canada sprinkles in tweets at random, the content of which is inspired by a real person with the syndrome. Each tweet includes a link to the site. Verbal and physical tics are involuntary, and people with Tourette Syndrome won’t feel better until they allow the tic to happen, the site says.

Since “there is no censored version of Tourette Syndrome,” the site reads, “our tweets aren’t censored either.” 

Build a biscuit, put a sheepdog on top #SurrenderYourSay

— Nicole Pankrac (@nicolepankrac) June 19, 2013

Pbbllppptt. Shit #SurrenderYourSay

— Gurpreet Pannu (@gurpreet_pannu) June 20, 2013

Around 6,800 people have allowed the campaign to tweet from their accounts at the time of writing, with their tweets reaching more than 3 million of their followers. However, the campaign’s unpredictable tweets caused frustration for some other users.

I’ve actually had enough #SurrenderYourSay. Please fuck off. :)

— Mike Pongetti (@mpongetti96) June 20, 2013

I presume this #SurrenderYourSay is for a good cause, but fuck it’s annoying.

— Patrick (@PaddyGurks) June 20, 2013

Meanwhile, some seemed to take advantage of the campaign to trash talk their friends under the pretense they were participating. In this example, someone uses both the hashtag and the link in the format of other Surrender Your Say tweets, but this tweet was posted from Twitter’s website by the user, rather than through the Surrender Your Say app.


The campaign did have its intended effect for many, however.

Fuck, I’m already empathetic about what people who have Tourette’s are going through. #SurrenderYourSay

— Katie Ch (@K8tCh) June 20, 2013

Videos highlighting the project indicate the campaign’s aim is to raise awareness and help people understand what it’s like to live with the syndrome. One man profiled shows how his tics lead him to burn his arms with a cigarette while smoking, another discussed how having Tourette Syndrome made him a more empathetic teacher.

H/T CBC | Photo via ATRANDOMTSFC/YouTube

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*First Published: Jun 20, 2013, 11:48 am CDT