Wel­come to the bowed­head tribe

CityPress - - News -

Are you a phub­ber or a smom­bie?

You need to know, you’re al­most cer­tainly a mem­ber of the bowed-head tribe.

The Chi­nese term dī tóu zú (lit­er­ally the “bowed-head tribe”) per­fectly de­scribes the peo­ple we see ev­ery day on city streets – or don’t, be­cause we’re a mem­ber of the tribe our­selves – their heads low­ered, gaz­ing at their phones.

It’s a wit­tier, more vivid de­scrip­tion than “smart­phone ad­dict”.

And if you be­long to the bowed-head tribe, you’re prob­a­bly an honorary mem­ber of the “m zh zú”, or “thumb tribe”, too. Th­ese are peo­ple whose in­ces­sant two-digit tap­ping on the phone keys never stops.

That term orig­i­nated in Ja­pan, where be­long­ing to oy­ayu­bi­zoku – the “clan of the thumbs” – was first coined to de­scribe teenagers bet­ter at text mes­sag­ing than talk­ing.

The art of snub­bing peo­ple by look­ing at your phone, even while you’re buy­ing a cup of cof­fee or sit­ting to­gether at a ta­ble, is known as “phub­bing”.

Short for “phone snub­bing” the word was coined in 2012 by Aus­tralian ad agency McCann Mel­bourne as part of a dic­tio­nary pro­mo­tion, which then went on to spawn a global “stop phub­bing” cam­paign.

More sin­is­ter is “smom­bie”, short for “smart­phone zom­bie”, and used to de­scribe a mind­lessly strolling pedes­trian whose at­ten­tion is con­sumed by their de­vice.

Crowned the Youth Word of the Year in Ger­many in 2015 – de­spite its gen­eral use by older speak­ers as a de­spair­ing de­scrip­tion of young peo­ple – “smom­bie” took on new ur­gency with the Poke­mon Go craze this year.

Ger­many also boasts the dis­tinc­tion of in­stalling some of the world’s first traf­fic lights in the pave­ment, de­signed to stop smom­bies walk­ing out in front of a bus or into the traf­fic in their con­sumed state.

– BBC

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