A study into technological tardism

At the Meerware Institute, we study various forms of localised human behaviour. Myself and Dr Chewbacca T Howlett, no relation, have seen a rise in a disease we have named "Technological Tardism" or "Tardism" for short. The disease seems to be linked to the usage of small electronic devices combined with inane applications and websites.

Symptoms

People suffering from Tardism are often found with the faces down in public areas holding electronic devices, ironically known as "smart phones" or "smart devices". In the hands of a Tard, these devices are known as "tard-tech". While tard-tech covers the range of physical electronic devices used by Tardistic people, it also encompasses the websites and applications they use as well.

Tards can be seen using Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest or Twitter excessively to relay every trivial event in their waking day, from meals to bowel movements. Beyond the trivial production of content, they do not actually contribute any further meaningful information, sometimes even reposting someone else's work, hence claiming it as their own. While sometimes they may share information about a cause or an event which would usually require action on the behalf any valuable human being, the Tard simply "likes" the cause and does nothing further, believing they have made a difference with the click of a button.

Dr Chewbacca T Howlett, no relation, and I have tried to understand the purpose of these websites and to no avail. Through inspection of the terms and conditions and privacy policies of each of these websites it is clear that the company is acquiring user data for their own malicious purposes, it is not clear what the benefit to the user is. Certainly not enough benefit to out weigh the loss of privacy.

Linguistic symptoms

Linguistic changes are quite noticeable in forms of Tardism. Tardistic people will use terms such as "lol", "rofl" and various other shortened expressions in written communication. In the more chronic forms of the disease, they may even use this in oral communication.

In written communication, it is common for Tardistic individuals to transform nouns, both proper and common, into verbs. Their sentences completely lack grammar, proper capitalisation and correct spelling, often using a phonetic form of a word.

Examples with translation

Past tense proper noun used as a verb: "i googled dat tues lol"
Translation: "I searched for that particular item using the Google website last Tuesday and now I am currently laughing."

Future tense common noun used as a verb: "inbox me rofl"
Translation: "Please send me an email. I am now literally rolling on the floor laughing for no apparent reason which in itself is amusing. As I am currently on the floor away from my device, one must question: how am I able to type this message?"

Inappropriate present tense use of a verb: "tweeting dat now ijhamrfma"
Translation: "I am sending that information through the Twitter website. I just had a midget removed from my anus."

Use of non-words also has been seen, with the rise of the terms such as "unfriend".

Over time, corporation names, to the sufferer, become verbs such as "Google" as a replacement to searching. This is not a new problem as in the UK, the company name "Hoover" has become synonymous with vacuum.

Physical symptoms

Someone who has been suffering from chronic Tardism which have developed excessively dexterous and strong thumbs due to the being the main method of typing and communication. Other fingers will be much weaker as will the rest of their body from inactivity.

Mental symptoms

Suffers also seem to have trouble with attention to single tasks, never delving deep into the task at hand due to the distractive nature of the tard-tech devices. It has come to light that there have been cases of medical professionals poorly administering medical care as they felt they had to check Facebook while doing such things as spinal taps.

Social symptoms

When placed in a social setting, someone suffering from Tardism will be face down looking at their tard-tech device rather than interacting with other individuals around them. They believe their interaction through their device, is in fact socialisation.

Technological specific symptoms

Dr Chewbacca T Howlett, no relation, and myself have noticed brand specific forms of the Tardism. While all forms share common behaviours, the technology specific forms have specific symptoms attached to the brand of the tard-tech device.

iTards

iTards have an almost religious and zealot affection towards Apple products. Their demeanour is that of almost arrogance towards other Tardism sufferers, believing the tard-tech Apple product is superior to other tard-tech devices and hence implying their own superiority.

iTards can be found anywhere but seem to congregate around Apple stores where they stand in line outside for hours or even days at a time to receive their new iPhones or other Tech-tard devices in an almost religious ceremony. While in line, they will be checking their current iPhone to see when the new iPhone will be released.

Droidtards

In response the iTard, groups of Tech-tards moved away to Android based Tech-tard devices, not in any affection for the devices or operating system, but simply the hatred of Apple and their iTards. The droidtards will constantly take out their Android based Tech-tard devices to show how much better they are than the Apple equivalent. Dr Chewbacca and I can only surmise that this is form of inadequacy and synonymous with small penis syndrome.

kTards

A more benign form of Tardism seems to be linked to the use of Kindle devices for reading. The device itself is specific to the task of reading books and the like and seems to have no other use and hence seems to limit the onset of Tardism. Suffers of this form have found ways around the limits of the tard-tech device by having multiple devices on their person and can be seen juggling devices on public transport.

Diagnosis

Various tests have been set up by myself and Dr Chewbacca T Howlett, no relation, allowing the quick diagnosis of subjects.

Reality diagnosis

The test is relatively simple and requires the subject be within a room with a window. While it is usually assured, have the user in arms reach of the tard-tech device. Simply ask the following question to them:

"What is the weather like?"

A non sufferer will simply look out the window and make a judgement on what they see. Someone suffering from Tardism will in fact take their tard-tech device and find a weather related application and look it up. My own brother conducted this test of colleagues and all subjects went straight to their tard-tech phones rather than take the more direct approach of looking out the nearby window.

The test itself demonstrates the subjects ability or inability to perceive reality. A Tardism sufferer no longer can perceive reality without the use of some tard-tech device and will not question the validity of the data shown, taking it over the reality of the situation.

Reading diagnosis

One of the problems associated with Tardism is the subjects inability to read, in particular terms and conditions and privacy policies offered by the associated products and websites they use on their tard-tech devices.

Preparation for this test will require the writing of a terms and conditions document, ensure it is relatively long and over several pages of printed material. Make sure that the document contains wording which would be damaging to the subject, such as:

"By accepting these terms and conditions Apple has rights to use your body as part of an experiment where your lips will be sown to the anus of another user to form a human centipede."

"Any data entered on the Facebook Platform is fully owned by the Facebook and can be modified and republished in any form to other users as part of social experimentation as Facebook deems fit."

Print the document off and places the pages in front of the subject and ask them "Do you accept these terms and conditions?" and observe their response.

The more extreme suffer will not understand what paper is and become confused and start pressing the paper, looking for an "Accept" button. Sufferers in the early form of the disease will simply skim read the document and accept automatically, not reading the sinister terms in which they just agreed to.

Detachment diagnosis

Take the subject and isolate them in a room. Remove the tard-tech device from the reach of the subject and observe. A non sufferer can sit for extended periods of time or simply find something else to do. Tardism suffers, of all stages, will become anxious with nothing for their thumbs to do. More extreme cases will start pressing their thumbs on inanimate objects in the hope of interactive gratification.

Treatment

Dr Chewbacca T Howlett, no relation, has spent 13 years studying the horrible affliction. During his time he has conducted various experiments and experimental treatments with some success.

Electric shock treatment

Electric shock therapy has been found to have some limited success. Dr Chewbacca T Howlett, no relation, placed the subjects and their tard-tech device in a room. Electrodes were placed on their genitalia and any interaction with the device led to a large, non lethal electrical charge to their bodies. The charge was increased with each interaction. Initially the subjects would show signs of pain and be hesitant to continue the behaviour but over time they seemed to become immune and like the terms and conditions of the websites that they had accepted, continued to use the devices regardless of the pain and damage they incurred.

Hypnotic treatment

Subjects were placed under heavy hypnosis and suggested that the tech-tard device was their genitalia, imply to the male subjects to treat their tech-tard device as if they would their penis. Giving reassurance it was fine that they had one, but enforcing behaviours such as pulling them out at the dinner table, using them on public transport or playing with them while they drive as wrong. While some subjects lessened their usage, others actually began to use their devices more and showed signs of sexual arousal.

Sensory treatment

A more successful experiment ran by Dr Chewbacca T Howlett was in Japan. Through the ingestion of scientifically acquired whale meat and sniffing of vending machine acquired school girls underwear, the use of tech-tard devices has become socially unacceptable in public venues, particular on public transport where it is seen as rude. The link between the sensory treatment and the result is yet to be determined.

Denial of needs treatment

Dr Chewbacca T Howlett, no relation, noticed a correlation between wealth and personal freedoms with a higher instance of Tardism. Through his connections in the Middle East, Dr Chewbacca set up various uprisings against various Middle Eastern regimes to create an environment of danger and putting the subjects into a survival state. It seemed that there was a link between not having a home, food or the constant danger of being bombed meant that the subjects were less likely want to post trivia on Facebook or Twitter. The experiment is ongoing and currently at it's peak in Syria.

Conclusion

The long term effects of human behaviour and social interaction have yet to be determined by myself and Dr Chewbacca T Howlett, no relation but we are seeing early signs of breakdown and abstraction from reality in subjects. As a precaution, Dr Chewbacca and myself are recommending a limited use of tard-tech devices and websites. Turning off the tard-tech devices or placing them on silent away from the subjects. We are also recommending the deletion of tard-tech website profiles and accounts and relying on more direct forms of communication and human interaction. As a final test to your own levels of Tardism, we at the Meerware Institute ask that you do not repost, tweet or in anyway electronically redistribute the material that you have read. Failure to do so will show early to late signs of Tardism.