“Embrace the ecstasy of writing”
(May sell prints of this soon… And open picture in new tab to view larger)
What we found is that, for the most part, there is a great deal of overlap between communication and mobility. This is especially clear in the South, where the border between Mississippi and Arkansas is present for all of the data. In other words, people in Mississippi (or Arkansas) primarily interact with others in their own state, and even tend to move only within the state. Despite all the technology at our disposal, in many ways we are still products of place.
So if there’s still a strong relationship between who we communicate with and the borders of where we live, does that also hold true for the words we use?
One of the clearest regional differences in the U.S. can found by tracking the words people use to refer to soft drinks, which is in fact the map you saw at the top of this story. Pop or soda, or even Coke, these small linguistic differences are not as small as we might think. While “soda” commands the Northeast and West Coast and “pop” is in between, “Coke” reigns in the south. These small distinctions can often act as touchstones for larger cultural differences.