F-bombs away! Twitter map tracks curses in real time

A new interactive site displays where, and how often, people around the world use the F-word on Twitter. Looks like New York is really effed up.

Apparently Idaho isn't much into swearing these days. (Click to enlarge.) Screenshot by Leslie Katz/CNET

Fiddlesticks! Fracking! Fudge! Nope, not THAT F-word. We're talking about the saucy verb that was supposedly first used in "Flen flyys," a circa-1475 poem that mocked friars for their alleged extracurricular activities with other men's wives. (Seriously, look it up on Wikipedia to spice up your small talk at parties and wedding receptions.)

The site FBomb.co maps in real time whenever the F-word is dropped on Twitter. America and Britain are leaders in cursing online, according to the interactive map, with New Yorkers tagged as the biggest offenders.

Thanks to its creator Martin Gingras, a junior at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, the map not only tracks the F-bombs as they happen, but also features pins that can be clicked to see a tweet and who tweeted it. On Twitter, @FBomb_co retweets random tweets that make up the map.

Gingras says his inspiration for the application came from a discussion he had with two colleagues.

"We were talking about how people misuse and abuse the English language," he says on his personal Web site. "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 its way to how it'd be neat to map where people swear."

Considering that the biggest offenders are primarily English-speaking countries (though Australia is remarkably low on F-bombs), it still shocks Gingras how many countries are cussing up a storm. "The biggest shock for me was the frequency it is used in non-English speaking countries," Gingras says.

While his interactive map is extremely popular, gaining recognition from the likes of The Washington Post and Los Angeles Times, Gingras hopes it encourages people to think twice before they eff-up their social-media presence.

"I'm really happy about how widespread the views for this application have spread and I hope people get some entertainment out of it," he says. "However, I also hope that people take a moment to read a few of them and realize how ridiculous they can sound and think twice before just saying the first thing to come to their mind using social media."

Eff yeah! Oops.

 

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