John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
A fun new map shows that America rules supreme when it comes to Twitter profanity.
What ties together a Bostonian upset over being ignored, a woman in Dallas angry about her empty refrigerator, and a resident of Portland, Oregon, who's still steaming over the wars of George W. Bush?
It's their potty-mouths: Last night, each of these people blasted their Twitter followers with the word "fuck," or one of its variants like WTF or OMFG. Each of these guys are included in this gloriously profane "FBomb Map," which displays real-time instances of Twitter cursing as mushroom clouds popping up all over the world. This is the United States:
The map was created by Ottawa-based software developer Martin Gingras, who made it one weekend in October after having an (I like to think) incredibly foul-mouthed conversation about the efficacy of swearing. As he explains:
We were talking about how people misuse and abuse the English language. As the conversation devolved swearing was brought up. In particular we talked about how swearing can completely undermine ones argument. Earlier that day we had been talking about the personal projects we were working and, somehow at this point we circled back to that topic. From there our conversation wound it's way to how it’d be neat to map where people swear. Within a few minutes and iterations of ideas the concept for the app was born.
Gingras' map is quite similar to another one that some Ukrainians made last year, investigating how many Americans start their morning with bursts of profanity. That endeavor indicated that Buffalo was the rudest city in the U.S. in terms of Twitter flaming; this one offers the more expected proposition that the biggest curse-holes are large cities such as Los Angeles, New York, and Dallas/Fort Worth. To judge from a sampling on Monday, there's also a healthy band of f-bombing from Detroit to Cleveland, a line of vulgarity running along the Gulf Coast, and not as much swearing as you would imagine coming out of the tech-infested San Francisco Bay Area.
Here are a few regional looks at America's cuss-space. The country is by far the biggest fan of the F word according to this map, maybe because so many of its citizens love to use Twitter:
By comparison, look at how few effs are given in the U.K. and Australia, perhaps because these places have their own highly evolved curse words: