Most anti-gay language on Twitter
originates from states in the Eastern United States.
A group of geography professors and
their students going by the name Floating Sheep analyzed all
geotagged tweets in North America between June 2012 and April 2013 to
develop a heat map of hate.
“[W]e discovered 41,306 tweets
containing the word 'nigger,' 95,123 referenced 'homo,' among other
terms,” the group wrote in
a blog post announcing their findings.
“Perhaps the most interesting
concentration comes for references to 'wetback,' a slur meant to
degrade Latino immigrants to the US by tying them to 'illegal'
immigration. Ultimately, this term is used most in different areas
of Texas, showing the state's centrality to debates about immigration
in the US. But the areas with significant concentrations aren't
necessarily that close to the border, and neither do other border
states who feature prominently in debates about immigration contain
Keywords used to track anti-gay tweets
include “dyke,” “homo,” “fag” and “queer.” Students
at Humboldt State read and interpreted each tweet to determine if the
given word was used in a positive, negative or neutral manner. Only
explicitly negative tweets were included in the map.
While the analysis revealed pockets of
anti-gay sentiment in northern California, eastern Washington,
southwestern Idaho and along the New Mexico-Texas border, the bulk of
the tweets originated from states east of the Mississippi.