- America is a divided nation, but perhaps its divisions are as much in the eye of the beholder.
- This map charts the geographic fault lines between ‘crazy drunk’ America and ‘bible study’ America.
- Strangely, Las Vegas falls in the latter category – and Salt Lake City in the former.
American fault line
America is not one nation – not even two, but a seemingly endless procession of opposites: red vs. blue, black vs. white, coastal vs. heartland, Hispanic vs. Anglo, millennials vs. analog natives. Of course, the precise course and depth of each of those fault lines depends on which type of data you decide to crunch, and how.
Here is a map of the United States divided into two very different – though perhaps not entirely mutually exclusive – demographics. In one corner: ‘crazy drunk’ – or ‘crunk’, if you’re into the whole brevity thing. In the other: ‘bible study’. The raw data for this map was spooned out of the bubbling vat of megatrends and metadata that is Twitter.
“The goal was to determine the mood of the country’s population,” the mapmakers explain, “whether they were tweeting more about getting drunk or about going to bible study.” One might question the methodology of their survey: perhaps the national mood has more than just those two settings; but let’s run with this and see what happens.
“Roughly 8,000 tweets were collected for each population. The ‘crunk’ population was created from tweets that said ‘Let’s get drunk’, ‘let’s get f***ed up’ and ‘Let’s get crunk’. Minor variations were also added to this population, e.g. ‘Let’s get crazy f***ed up!’ The second population was created from tweets that said ‘bible study’.”
Not every mention in either category was genuine. In their sentiment analysis, the surveyors found an error rate of 4% in the ‘crunk’ category (i.e. “a mocking or derisive tone about getting drunk”), and 2% in among ‘bible study’ tweets.
The map shows the results of the survey, plotted in various shades of color: light and dark orange for a slighter or stronger preponderance of ‘crunk’ tweets, light and dark blue for a smaller or larger plurality of ‘bible study’ tweets, and grey for areas where both categories were equal in number, or where too little data was available either way.
Bible belt blues
Not entirely unsurprisingly, “the Bible Belt is clearly shown (in blue), and large urban areas in the South easily favor the ‘bible study’ tweets”. On the other hand, “the greatest concentration of ‘crunk’ tweets tend to exist in college towns and military bases, both of which are populated by younger twitterers.”
Interesting to note are the general rules, and their exceptions.
- Blue dominates in the South, from east Texas all the way to North Carolina and down to Florida.
- Orange holds sway in the Northeast, around the Great Lakes, in the Southwest and on the West Coast. –
Trending towards piety