Georgia’s hot, humid, racist, and boring? Thanks a lot, Google.


A couple years back—eons ago in social media time—when Facebook was purely the domain of college and high-school students, there was a little feature called the “honesty box” you could toggle on to solicit feedback about what others really thought about you. As the then-parent of a high-school kid I thought it was particularly cruel. It’s tough enough hearing what the mean girls have to say to your face, let alone what they’ll whisper in the virtual cafeteria.

Well, enterprising blogger Renee DiResta came up with a twist on the honesty box, tracking stereotypes about each state by using Google’s search algorithm. As DiResta explains:

For each of the fifty states and DC, I asked Google: “Why is [State] so ” and let it autocomplete. It seemed like an ideal question to get at popular assumptions, since “Why is [State] so X?” presupposes that X is true.

Oh, the heck with methodology. What do people think about US?

According to DiResta’s findings (which are plotted on a nifty interactive map), everyone wants to know why Georgia is (a) so hot; (b) so racist; (c) so boring; and (d) so humid.

New York, on the other hand, is “great,” “populated,” “expensive,” and “big” while Colorado, the mean-girl Queen Bee of the states, is “cold,” “awesome,” “healthy,” and “skinny.”

Well, at least Georgians can, as always, take schadenfreud-y comfort in looking to our neighbors like Mississippi (“poor, racist, backwards”), Florida (“weird, trashy”) and Tennessee (“fat, stupid”).

 >> Click here to explore DiResta’s map and analysis of her findings