Mapping Australia’s colourful language

By on 14 October, 2014
Swearing map

A national Twitter map shows that around 3% of all of Australia’s tweets contain expletives.


Airports, traffic lights, nightclub precincts and sporting venues have been revealed as the nation’s swearing hotspots by an online map that tracks the location and content of Australia’s tweets.

Created by Esri Australia, the map lets users zoom down to suburb-level detail to visualise where tweets are coming from.

Esri Australia developer Simon Jackson said the results were collated from 4.1 million tweets sent between June 2013 and March 2014, which were harvested from accounts with location services activated.

“We cross-referenced these tweets against a list of 1,000 obscenities and displayed the rude ones as red dots on the smart map,” Mr Jackson said.

“The result is a significant amount of red around sporting fields, stadiums and, as you would expect, in city centres.

“The ‘F’ word and all its colourful variations were the most popular swear words tweeted, while ‘WTF’ – a slang expression of surprise – was also up there.

“Overall, more than 127,000 – or around 3 per cent of tweets – contained expletives.”

South Australia has the dubious honour of having the highest proportion of tweets filled with rude words at 3.6 per cent.

In another fascinating insight, it appears motorists are regularly ignoring smartphone laws by using their time stuck at traffic lights to send off tweets.

“Many major intersections and busy routes are highlighted on the smart map by the tweets people send while waiting for a green light,” Mr Jackson said.

Australia’s most populous state – New South Wales – is home to the most prolific tweeters, with nearly one and a half million recorded and mapped for the project.

The smart map also displays tweets using the five most commonly used foreign languages – Japanese (39,623), Malay (37,734), Arabic (29,417), Indonesian (24,382) and Spanish (15,180).

“It’s remarkable to see the splashes of colour representing each language as they are mapped out across every suburb’s streets,” Mr Jackson said.

“Only about 10 per cent of Australians share their location on Twitter so it is only a snapshot, but it is a fascinating one.”

The Languages of Australia map is available online. Use the gear icon in the upper right hand corner to toggle between languages and profanity.

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