Toronto, With their choice of words on Twitter, Americans appear to be living up to their national stereotype as negative and assertive, while Canadians tend to be nice and polite on the microblogging platform, suggests an analysis of nearly 40 million tweets.
Canadians were far more positive on Twitter, using words such as great, thanks, good, amazing, and happy. Americans tended to use more negative words like hate, miss, mad, feel, swear, tired, said the study published online in the journal PLOS ONE.
“The Twitter behaviour we observe doesn’t actually reflect the real underlying personality profile of an average American or Canadian,” said study co-author Daniel Schmidtke from McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada.
For the study, the researchers isolated the words, emoticons, and emojis used most disproportionately on Twitter by individuals from each country.
The findings suggest national stereotypes are grounded – at least partially – in the words we choose.
“The most distinctive word choices of Americans and Canadians on Twitter paint a very accurate and familiar picture of the stereotypes we associate with people from these nations,” Schmidtke said.
However, there is not any hard evidence to support that an average American’s and average Canadian’s personality traits are different.
The team argues that their results show an identity construction strategy in action: Canadians and Americans may create their national character stereotype through their language use.