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Twitter users surrender accounts for Tourette awareness

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Gord Brown wants people to see him as a travelling, compassionate person, who happens to have tics.

The Tourette Syndrome Foundation of Canada is asking people to give up control over their personal Twitter accounts for 24 hours so that they can experience what it feels like to have involuntary verbal and physical tics associated with the syndrome.

"Imagine if you Tweeted something embarrassing, offensive, or just plain weird - and you had no control over it," reads the Surrender Your Say site. "That's what it's like to have Tourette Syndrome."

As people started opting into the program, seemingly random tweets began appearing on their feeds:

But the tweets are not simply random word combinations. Each #SurrenderYourSay tweet "is inspired by a real person with Tourette Syndrome."

The foundation gathered the stories of several people living with the syndrome to create tweets that would be sent out on Wednesday.


Tics, verbal or physical, are involuntary, uncensored and the person doesn't feel better until they have completed the action or phrase, according to the site.

The tweets work similarly, prompting the foundation to warn people that "because there is no censored version of Tourette Syndrome, our Tweets aren't censored either."

A video showcasing the project says not enough Canadians understand what it is like to live with Tourette Syndrome.

"To understand it we're asking you to experience it."

As of mid-afternoon:

  • 2,443 people had given up control of their Twitter accounts.
  • 58,680 hours had been surrendered.
  • 1,222,723 people had been reached.

What do you think of the foundation's campaign? Would you let someone else control one of your social media accounts temporarily for a good cause?

Tags: Community, Health, Technology, Technology and Science

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