Study: People tweet more about church than beer
July 9th, 2012
02:15 PM ET

Study: People tweet more about church than beer

By Dan Merica, CNN

(CNN) – In an effort to look at cultural differences across the United States, a data analysis company selected two words that it felt exemplified an American cultural divide and analyzed their usage on Twitter.

The words: “beer” and “church.”

And according to the study by Floatingsheep.org, Americans tweet more about church than beer, and there is a distinct regional divide between the tweets.

Church tweets were most common in the Southeast United States, while tweets about beer were most prevalent in the Northeast.

“We found out that there is a geography to what people tweet about, and there are some geographic differences to Twitter,” said Dr. Matthew Zook, a geography professor at the University of Kentucky and co-founder of Floating Sheep. “You have these offline cultural differences that are being replicated in information space like Twitter.”

The group went through roughly 10 million geotagged tweets from June 22 to June 29 and found that 17,686 tweets were sent with the word “church,” while 14,405 tweets were sent containing the word “beer.”

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Zook and his group selected the words because they believed religion and drinking have rich differences.

“We have been doing this for a while, and we have a set of favorite words that really capture regional differences,” Zook said.

According to the report, which was first reported by Britain's Guardian newspaper, San Francisco was the most beer-focused city in the country, while Dallas was the most focused on church.

“San Francisco has the largest margin in favor of ‘beer’ tweets (191 compared to 46 for ‘church’) with Boston (Suffolk County) running a close second,” the report says. “In contrast, Dallas, Texas wins the FloatingSheep award for most geotagged tweets about ‘church’ with 178 compared to only 83 about ‘beer.’ ”

The study also found that “counties with high numbers of church tweets are surrounded by counties with similar patterns and ... counties with many beer tweets are surrounded by like-tweeting counties.”

The social networking site Twitter allows users to note or highlight their locations with a service called geotagging, which utilizes the GPS feature on mobile phones or computers to precisely determine the location. Though the report cautions that geotagged tweets are rare on Twitter – they account for only 1% to 3% of tweets – that small percentage yields a large number of tweets to use, the analysts say.

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The results of the "church or beer "study validate past studies by Floatingsheep.org, the analysts say.

In 2010, the group found that there is a larger than normal concentration of bars in the Northeast United States.

And in 2009, a study titled “The Virtual ‘Bible Belt’” found a larger than normal concentration of churches in the American South and Midwest, especially compared with the Northeast United States.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Belief • Church

soundoff (313 Responses)
  1. les

    i wonder how many tweeted about having a beer after church ???

    July 10, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
  2. stephen Wentworth

    That's because Jesus rejected to drink vinegar (wine) and drugs like opiates (myrhh) on the cross, as it is better to give than receive! What other has ever given (even his last breath like heavenly Cpr) to you like Jesus?

    July 10, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • Todd

      But his first miracle was to turn Water into Wine... And not just any type of wine but the good stuff.

      July 10, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
  3. palintwit

    Repeated studies have shown that the more beer a teabagger drinks, the more likely he is to boink his cousin or his sister.

    July 10, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
  4. Willow

    This study has a fallacy. The two terms are not mutually exclusive, since most Christians I know also drink beer. It is the extremists who don't. Christianity does not in and of itself forbid alcohol; it's certain sects within it that do.

    July 10, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
  5. Portland tony

    All comments about religion should be limited to 140 characters. On the other hand, there is so much more that can be said about good beer. But remember, most southern 12 pack Joe's are having too much fun to stop and 'tweet '.

    July 10, 2012 at 10:25 am |
  6. Brock

    Thinking whoever came up with concept of heaven was a genius because you got to be dead to enjoy. Thats a win win eh?

    July 10, 2012 at 10:02 am |
  7. scottCA

    What do both beer and church have in common? They both lower your intelligence.

    July 10, 2012 at 8:38 am |
    • Clown Comment Bro

      Except beer is fun. Religion is a boooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooorrrre.

      July 10, 2012 at 9:34 am |
    • Al

      How about a tweet about church vs. years of education study?

      July 10, 2012 at 9:48 am |
    • Brad

      A couple of good IPA's and I feel much more entailigant.....

      July 10, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • Bryan

      Hey Al, I have a bachelor's degree in geology and a PhD in engineering. I have studied the tectonic evolution of the appalachian mountains, conducted mineral exploration geologist, and am currently working on the synthesis nano-scale and nano-structured materials. I don't see a problem with studying christian theology. I'm curious of the education that you have...

      July 10, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • sam

      Easy there, Bryan. Don't strain yourself trying to prove how smart you are.

      July 10, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
  8. Reality

    The study should have included all forms of alcohol since it included all forms of religion. i.e. wine, liquor et al. Without this comparison, said study is irrelevant..

    July 10, 2012 at 8:04 am |
    • Kanbei85

      No way is it irrelevant on those grounds! Beer is by far the most popular form of alcohol in the US. I think it's a pretty cool study.

      July 10, 2012 at 8:18 am |
    • derp

      "The study should have included all forms of alcohol since it included all forms of religion"


      It used the key word of "church".

      It did not use mosque or synagogue, or temple. So it only actually used on religion, christianity.

      July 10, 2012 at 9:16 am |
    • Reality

      78 % of the USA is Christian. Many of the 78% are children and young adults who are under the drinking age but are of the tweeting age again adding irrelevancy to the study.

      Roget's Thesaurus:



      Those who accept and practice a particular religious belief: communion, denomination, faith, persuasion, sect.

      July 10, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV


      Please don't confuse this with a "study". They would likely have gotten much the same results if they compared tweets for "Justin Bieber" with tweets for "church".

      The only correlation here with hard data is that there is a high degree of religiousity in the south.

      July 10, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
  9. And in other news, Bippy the Lesser Squirrel was arrested for carnal window peeping, but has now posted bail.

    Please pray that will change.

    July 10, 2012 at 6:50 am |
  10. salemboy94

    Beer and church? Separate things? The people doing this study have obviously never been to the south.

    July 10, 2012 at 6:02 am |
  11. Födelsedagspresent


    Nice article, thanks for sharing your thoughts, this article is very help full for me and my friends.


    July 10, 2012 at 2:33 am |
  12. SPW

    I like how I live in that small spec of blue that is surrounded by red in Florida.

    July 10, 2012 at 2:27 am |
    • BG

      Would that be immigrant-haven Tampa, or Miami-Dade, the city of multicultural peace and harmony? Florida can't verify their voters, so now the Florida Democratic goons are busy naming all the pink flamingos and alligators and registering them as Democrats. November will be "bring your pet to vote" month in the sunshine state – absentee ballots available upon request.

      F'd up Florida. I lived there for years. It used to be nice.

      July 10, 2012 at 2:46 am |
    • SPW

      Neither Tampa or Miami, I'm in that very small spec of blue near central Florida.

      July 10, 2012 at 3:08 am |
    • BG

      Seminole County. Land of Sanford. I lived in Winter Springs for about 8 months. Nice dog track, great bars that served big bowls of boiled rock shrimp every night. Too many car dealerships on the miracle mile (I bought a Honda from Jimmy Bryan a long time ago.) Too many t-bars farther south on the OBT.

      Your little "spec of blue" will go up in a puff of smoke if Zimmerman gets acquitted. Sadly, I think they're going to sacrifice him to keep the peace.

      July 10, 2012 at 3:44 am |
    • MarkinFL

      BG, you are no longer in Florida? Good.

      July 10, 2012 at 9:07 am |
    • BG

      Well then, I guess you could call that a "win-win". Everyone's happy. I know I sure am. The only thing I miss about Florida is Cuban sweet potatoes and conch chowder.

      You, on the other hand, get to keep the...

      Water Moccasins
      Coral snakes
      Cubans that hate everyone else
      Blacks that hate everyone else
      Really big mosquitoes
      Midges that f'd up your car
      Muslims that.. you know
      Cops that over react for sport
      Lots and lots of drugs (you might consider that a good thing)
      Race riots (to be arranged in a town near you)

      I'm sure that you can add to the list (or, conversely, I can add you to the list.) All I know is that It's not my problem any longer.

      July 10, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
    • BG

      Now that I started that, all the memories began to flood in.

      Sand fleas
      Silverhead drivers
      Tar on the beach
      The Beeline Expressway (only because I had to drive it weekly from Winter Springs to Indian Harbour Beach)
      Epcot (a waste)
      Spring Break in Lauderdale (a pain)
      Avocado Groves (I'm allergic)
      Kumquats (suck)
      The Tamiami Trail (don't look in the canal.)

      I'll think of more later.

      In retrospect I remember fondly....

      Holiday Isle marina in Islamorada, before it was rap ed by developers. Bud & Mary's, close second.
      The Blue Chip, Blue Chip II, and the Dee Cee.
      Homestead, pre-Andrew, esp. Shiver's BBQ. (Andrew took the property on Old Dixie Hwy.)
      A great job at Martin-Marietta (can't tell you what I did, sorry)
      My condo in Indian Harbour Beach
      My childhood home in Ft. Lauderdale (NW 42nd St. off US441)
      Eating whole cold mangos over the sink.
      Fishing for Redfish and Snook in Florida Bay.
      Sanibel and Marco Islands
      Key Limes on the side of the road for the taking. (Kumquats too, but they're nasty)
      Watching space shots from the Inter-Coastal Waterway by Cocoa and Melbourne.

      You know what they say. You can never go back home. I don't think I'd ever try. Too much has changed.
      So, really, @ MarkinFL, is right. It's good that I'm not there any longer.

      July 10, 2012 at 7:23 pm |

    Signs: your energy and time $ always lost. Each everything politics I am not
    Politician we politics analyzer
    Dear gentleman APR 19 2012
    Please Avoid WAR so many people suffer public
    Global economic crisis
    Many people wounded for military troops mort hen 98 000
    Each every body leaving 60 to 80 year life only
    Effected FDI investor . Thing good do good

    Economy improve three way
    No 1 free birds meaning open immigration to all country
    No 2 open business policy according global law
    No 3 all country same currency

    CNN WORLD report, in the war 6, 75,000 civilians killed, 7500 troops of USA and its allied forces killed 3 25 000 people wounded and $ 3.5 Trillion Dollar spent for the war. This spending of $ 3.5 Trillion Dollar is the main cause of action for the present economic crises prevailing all over the world.
    After winning the war against IRAQ, the United States of America’s President Mr. George W.Bush, also admitted the same fact, and he openly stated that the Intelligence agency misguided him.
    Later on, even the United Nations Organization (UNO) also certified that the IRAQ has no nuclear weapons.

    m.s.mohamed ansari

    International chamber of commerce life member
    World peace prayer society life member
    USA parliament org economic adviser

    July 10, 2012 at 1:51 am |
    • BG

      So... you want:

      "free birds meaning open immigration to all country"
      Hmm – I'll say no on that one..

      "open business policy according global law"
      What law would that be, sharia?

      "all country same currency"
      I'd better start hoarding my loonies and goonies, 'eh?

      ... and you're:

      an "International chamber of commerce life member"

      a "World peace prayer society life member"
      It's good to have a hobby.

      a "USA parliament org economic adviser"
      Now -this one- is an absolute f'n laugh riot !!


      Where folks like the Pot Party, Parliamentary Party, Marijuana Party, Peace and Freedom Party, Radical Revolutionary Party, and Comedy Central party all want to re-write the American consti tution.

      Far out, man.

      Oh, f'k me. I can't stop laughing.

      Hey, don't forget those radical activists over at the "Info. Not Available Party!" We don't know much about them but they've got "2 Members of Parliament" designated, Clint Eastwood and Woody Harrelson.


      Get back to the hooka, Mo. Your hash is getting cold.

      July 10, 2012 at 2:26 am |
    • Peace2All


      LOL...! It's good to be back, my friend ! Ya' make me laugh with the warm fuzzies, as always ! 😀


      July 10, 2012 at 2:50 am |
  14. Guest

    At least people who drink pass out and shut up eventually

    July 10, 2012 at 1:42 am |
    • Brad


      July 10, 2012 at 1:16 pm |


    M.S.Mohamed Ansari 13 April 2009

    All press and Media Arabs leader and G20 leader at. Headquarters of All association
    A TO Z + 8. QUEEN + 8
    Royal wedding. And royal security force 10 generation total cost $ 57 trillion
    Each every politician rolling 8 years only just like chess board Game.
    But queen family rolling 10 generation y

    GLOBAL ECONOMIC COLLAPSE REASON WAR. Improve Economy only 6 points. Peace, prayer
    Liberty, Unity, friendly And simplicity.

    I am also Happy to kill osma bin laden
    Turing point of global Economy. Islam not allowed to be Terrorist and Terrorist people are not a Muslim
    1. Please avoid war. Day by Day war cost increase $ 3.5 trillion
    2. Global economy and food price every Day increase
    3. International job less unemployment Y. All businessmen effected business.
    4. Global financial crisis every CNC manufacture. New technology energy product Effected FDI investors.
    5. Every Day OPEC Oil Price Increase
    6. World poverty problem. Bankrupt 170 Bank overalls 87000 Branch
    7. Each every single man Effected
    8. Ignore future Death million of already Death
    9. Million of People Wounded
    10. Global environment climate will be change this will lead Global Agriculture problem

    A. International criminal court. B. white house. global human right association .C.IMF
    D. euro union. E. united nation F.ALL international famous press and media


    From. Mr.M.S.Mohamed Ansari,
    154, Angappa Naicken Street,
    Chennai – 600 001.
    Tamil Nadu,
    To , The Hon’ble Chief Justice,
    The Supreme Court,
    United States of America,
    Washington, D.C.
    Fax no: 213.547.8080
    Dear Sir,
    Sub: Prosecution of previous President Mr. George W.Bush, for violation of International Code of Conduct.
    Mr. George W.Bush, the previous President of United States of America, initiated a war against IRAQ, without obtaining the previous sanction of United Nations Organization (UNO) on the pretext of having nuclear weapons, even though the then IRAQ government openly exhibited to the whole world that it has no nuclear weapons.
    According to the CNN WORLD report, in the war 6, 75,000 civilians killed, 7500 troops of USA and its allied forces killed 3 25 000 people wounded and $ 3.5 Trillion Dollar spent for the war. This spending of $ 3.5 Trillion Dollar is the main cause of action for the present economic crises prevailing all over the world.
    After winning the war against IRAQ, the United States of America’s President Mr. George W.Bush, also admitted the same fact, and he openly stated that the Intelligence agency misguided him.
    Later on, even the United Nations Organization (UNO) also certified that the IRAQ has no nuclear weapons.
    Then it is the bounded duty of the United States of America and its allied forces to withdraw from IRAQ.
    But instead of withdrawing from IRAQ, the United States of America and its allied forces formed a government in IRAQ, under their control and administered the entire IRAQ, and its peoples.
    This indicates a clear violation of duty by the President of United States of America Mr. George W.Bush and also a clear case of violation of the International Code of Conduct for UNO members.
    Thus Mr. George W.Bush attracts prosecution for the above said offence.
    Thus I hereby pray this Hon’ble Court initiate criminal proceedings against Mr. George W. Bush, and give him maximum punishment for
    a) initiating the war against the IRAQ
    b) killing its innocent IRAQI peoples civilian 6, 75 000
    c) Killing troops of USA and allied forces and 7 500
    d) The present economic crises.
    e) 3 25 000 civilian and coalition 39 000 wounded
    Dated on this day of 13th day of April, 2009.
    Yours truly, (M.S.MOHAMED ANSARI)
    The Chief Justice, the International Court of Justice, The Hague, Netherlands.
    The Secretary General United Nations Organization
    The Chief Justice, the Supreme Court, IRAQ.
    His Excellency Mr.Barack Obama, the President of United States of America, White House, Washington D.C.

    July 10, 2012 at 1:13 am |
    • BG

      Need a clue?

      Professor Plum in the Parlor with a Penis Pump.

      July 10, 2012 at 1:17 am |
    • Roger Ramjet

      Did you really send that to the White House? Okay . . .

      You know, I had a cousin who answered the public telephone lines for the White House one summer, and oh did he have some stories to tell! We're talking about the listed public number, not the private lines that senators and heads of state use, but the anyone-can-find-it public number.

      Let's just say that the suggestions were really out there, and some of the callers had to be referred to the Secret Service as there are some things you can say that are not protected by the First Amendment. Many do actually seem to believe that they will be connected to the President if they call.

      Oh, by the way, if you really want to have some fun, dial (202) 456-1414 and then tell the person who answers that you have a great way to help this country recover its greatness that you would like to share with the president (who you really admire except for his gotee, and could you speak with him please. You will be told politely that he is busy but they would be happy to take a message.

      Happily tell them something long, complex and wonderful about how you think that all those pesky squirrels who have started talking to you in Reformed Egyptian lately should all be collected together and trained to guard the border between the U.S. and Sudan, and arm them with nanotechnology laser designators so that our black helicopters can blow up their camels.

      I guarantee that if you can do it with a straight face, you will make their day. You see, they are unpaid college kids out to put "White House" on their resume, and you have to give them something to offset the lack of pay. Make very sure you compliment the president and this great land of ours, or you risk having some men in dark suits with sunglasses and wires going into their ears coming to pay you a little visit.

      July 10, 2012 at 1:45 am |
  16. Dustin

    Beer > All known deities combined

    July 10, 2012 at 12:53 am |
  17. dudley

    Uncanny thinking.

    More churches, more tweets about church. More bars, more tweets about beer. Line these guys up for a grant.

    July 10, 2012 at 12:45 am |
    • dudley

      Thanks to CNN for trying to make a shouting match out of absolutely nothing.

      July 10, 2012 at 12:46 am |
    • BG

      They've got it down to a science. Sometimes I think they're afraid Fox will steal their little "how to antagonize the bloggers" playbook.

      July 10, 2012 at 1:18 am |
    • Polergiest

      It was floatingsheep that figured out there was a larger concentration of bars in the Northeast to begin with. Sounds like solid research to me.

      July 10, 2012 at 7:34 am |
  18. Tomás de Torquemada

    I am the truest of Christians

    July 10, 2012 at 12:14 am |
    • Fred Phelps

      I so admire you!

      July 10, 2012 at 12:16 am |
    • The Carnal Houseplant

      You do not live in Scotland.

      July 10, 2012 at 12:39 am |
    • Tomás de Torquemada

      I'll get to Scotland soon enough. My divine mission, bestowed upon me by Pope Luciano XVI, now has me conducting the dread and notorious French Frigate Shoals Inquisition, and let me tell you, NOBODY expects the French Frigate Shoals Inquisition!!

      July 10, 2012 at 2:04 am |
  19. The Carnal Houseplant

    All houseplants who water themselves with beer will burn in hell, unless you change your evil diapers.

    July 10, 2012 at 12:06 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Isn't beer a form of alcohol and didn't jesus turn water in to wine? Seems like the poison of alcohol is just one more bad thing god did to his people.

      July 10, 2012 at 12:32 am |
    • The Carnal Houseplant

      Perhaps. But we arsonists like to watch, especially burnings.

      July 10, 2012 at 12:35 am |
  20. Jonathan Edwards

    Jonathan Edwards (16th century theologian) is my homeboy.

    July 10, 2012 at 12:06 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.