Stay positive, eh? Canadians much more polite than Americans on Twitter

Sorry to bother you, but there's something you should know: the notion that Canadians are more polite than Americans is true, at least when it comes to Twitter.

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A study conducted by two Ph.D candidates at McMaster University has found that tweets from Canada are generally more positive than tweets originating in the United States, based on the types of words used in those messages.

The study geo-tagged tweets by location and then sorted their individual words into "word clouds," or collections of words based on how often they are used. The most commonly-used words are displayed in larger text near the middle of the cloud, with less popular words around the edges.

Based on the study's word clouds, the top words in Canada include "favourite," "amazing" and "great." Less popular but still common words included terms like "beautiful," "praise," "sweet," "gorgeous" and "sexy." There are no swear words or questionable terms in Canada’s word cloud, and the most negative entry is arguably the word "exams."

The U.S. word cloud was almost the complete opposite of Canada’s, rife with swear words, racial epithets and slang – with a four-letter "S" word and an offensive "N" word at its centre. The only positive words to appear in the list were "favourite" and several forms of the word "yeah." Less popular words in the cloud included mildly negative terms like "tired," "annoying," "bored," "dumb" and "sleepy."

Ph.D candidates Daniel Schmidtke and Bryor Snefjella compiled their data from more than three million geo-tagged tweets sent between February and October of 2015, with words like "a," "the" and "to" deleted from the results. It was their second time conducting a study of this kind, having analyzed tweets from England and Scotland for similar trends.

In a news release from McMaster, Schmidtke said he immediately noticed the stark difference between data from the U.S. and Canada.

"We could see the difference between the two countries' tweets as soon as we created a word cloud of the findings," Schmidtke said in the release.

The word clouds also showed Canadians love their homegrown sports teams. "Leafs," "Raptors" and "Jays" were all close to the centre of the word cloud, indicating many people like to tweet about the Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Raptors and Toronto Blue Jays. The Montreal Canadiens and Ottawa Senators were also represented along the edges of the word cloud.

The only sports team to appear in the U.S. word cloud was LeBron James' Cleveland Cavaliers, as "Cavs."

The Canadian word cloud is shown below.

Canada Twitter word cloud

The U.S. word cloud is also included below, with the most offensive words blurred out. Head to the study's website to see the uncensored version.

U.S. Twitter word cloud


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