Study: ‘S–t’ Is America’s Most-Used Word on Twitter


A recent study claims that American Twitter users are overwhelmingly negative on the platform and utilize swear words more often than those from other countries. Researchers claim Twitter data matches the “established stereotypes” about Americans.

NPR reports that a study conducted by researchers from Canada claims that American Twitter users tweet more negative words than those from Canada. The study analyzed 40 million tweets to study the tweets of both American and Canadian users, finding that in general American users are more negative while Canadian users are more positive.

The lead author on the study, Bryor Snefjella, a researcher at McMaster University in Ontario, discussed the report stating: “What we found is that if you go into Twitter and you quantify the most … characteristic language of Canadians and Americans, you find that that characteristic language really, really strongly matches the sort of established stereotypes of Canadians and Americans.”

The report outlines how words were ranked by level of negativity and positivity stating: “To illustrate, the word “great” has the most negative z-score (z = -89.72) and thus indicates that the noun is significantly over-represented in Canada, compared to the US. Conversely, the word “shit” lies at the opposite end of this continuum, with the most positive z score (z = 104.34), which signifies that it is over-represented in the US.”

The tweets were analyzed by a team of computational linguist researchers who used the geolocation of tweets to determine where each Twitter user was from, discovering that those from accounts based in America reinforced the “rude American” stereotype. “For Canada, you’re talking about words like ‘great,’ ‘amazing,’ ‘awesome,’ ‘thanks,’ being very characteristic,” Snefjella said. “For Americans, it’s words like swear words of all kinds … and then a lot of words of that [evoke] negative emotional states like ‘hate,’ ‘miss,’ ‘bored,’ ‘tired.’ ”

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