Yes, the title of this post is a play on words. There used to be a dance called the jitterbug, which Wikipedia describes this way:

The term jitterbug comes from an early 20th-century slang for alcoholics who suffered from the “jitters” (i.e., delirium tremens). The term became associated with swing dancers who danced without any control or knowledge of the dance. In popular culture, it became generalized to mean swing dancers themselves, or a type of swing dance – for example “they danced the jitterbug“, or the act of swing dancing – “People were top-notch jitterbugging, jumping around, cutting loose and going crazy”.

Surprisingly, there is no entry in Wikipedia yet for a dance called the twitterbug, even though millions, if not billions, of people are twitterbugging — and doing the twitterbug is not entirely unlike doing the jitterbug.

You know what I am talking about. People are swinging and swaying through the streets and corridors of many nations with eyes fixed/transfixed on their smartphones, following the chatter on their Twitter feeds. The heavens could open above them, and Jesus could make a glorious return for all to behold — and the twitterbugs wouldn’t see it. But they would hear about it on Twitter.

I haven’t been bitten by the twitterbug, even though I have a smartphone. I downloaded the Twitter app, and quickly removed it when I got swamped by notifications of other people’s tweets. Very annoying . . .

I use Twitter for work purposes: to tweet out blog posts, to follow the Twitter news (on the Gazette’s account) when I am working. I confess that I did try following some celebrities when I first signed up, and then realized that I have a life . . . offline. And life is so damn short. Why would I want to waste so much of my free time following the chitter-chatter of people I don’t even know? When I walk down the street, I want to look at all the people, even smile at some of them. And if Jesus does descend for all to see, I want to see it live, in real time . . .

Is this a generational thing? To some extent, yes. Most of the twitterbugs I see in the streets are between 12 and 40. But I do see some older people who have caught the bug. It just feels so weird to walk by someone you know who is oblivious to your presence because he or she is transfixed on a smartphone following the ramblings of strangers on Twitter.

Of course, maybe they are reading something else, like emails. But in the corridors while they are walking to the washroom!?

It all smacks of some sort of addiction to me, which could ultimately lead to the twitter jitters.

Whatever, I’m thinking it won’t be long before someone starts a dance called the twitterbug, and people will be cutting loose on the dancefloor “without any control or knowledge of the dance,” because they will be following their twitter chitter-chatter feeds on their smartphones . . .


– Jillian