Counting curses (on Twitter, in English)

Words can be tallied. Words were. This study gives details:

Cursing in English on Twitter,” Wenbo Wang, Lu Chen, Krishnaprasad Thirunarayan [pictured here], and Amit P. Sheth, paper presented at CSCW’14 , February 15-19 2014, Baltimore, MD, USA. The authors, at Wright State University, explain:


“In this paper, we examine the characteristics of cursing activity on a popular social media platform – Twitter, involving the analysis of about 51 million tweets and about 14 million users.”

The findings are tidily— if confusingly — summarized in this graph. Look at the label on the vertical axis: “count”. Compare it with what the caption says: “frequencies”. Most scientists swear that count and frequency are not the same thing:


(Thanks to investigator A.W. Pfister for bringing this to our attention.)