By Tom Z
12:40 PM EDT, August 14, 2012
The best way to see what people are thinking is to see what they are Googling. And that is exactly what one blogger did, compiling a list of Google auto-complete suggestions for the phrase “Why is [fill in the state] so…”
What results did Connecticut return? Well, when you type “Why is Connecticut so…” into Google, the top four suggestions are “so expensive,” “so rich,” so haunted” and “so boring.” Not the most flattering portrait of our state, but at least we’re better than states like Florida, which apparently is “so weird,” “so humid,” and “so trashy,” or Arizona, which is “so racist” and “so crazy.” Do yourself a favor and check out Slate.com’s interactive map, that allows you to hover over any state and see its Google-based qualities. It’s fun for all ages.
Stereotypes don't always correspond to reality, but it turns out that there is some wisdom in the crowd's assumptions. DiResta found that states Google users think of as “expensive” in fact have some of the highest costs of living. And states whose top results include “fat” or “overweight” are indeed near the top in obesity rates, according to the CDC.
Results may vary depending on where and when you are doing your Googling. For example, I just searched for “Why is Connecticut so…” and my results matched the ones above, except in my case “boring” was listed before “haunted.” I totally get the “rich” and “expensive” suggestions. “Boring” was a suggestion for a bunch of states, so apparently Americans are just not that exciting in general. I did not, however, understand why CT is so haunted. So I did a little research of my own. Turns out there are a lot of websites about ghosts in Connecticut. Most of our state’s paranormal reputation is due to the movie The Haunting in Connecticut or the fact that we have so many old, creaky houses. But there is a faction of people who think our state landmarks are inhabited by the dead. In fact, I found one list called “The Top 10 Haunted Places in Connecticut” that listed 15 haunted locations. Our state is so haunted that our top 10 lists magically get 5 extra numbers. Anyway, I’ve decided on my next two features for CT.com. The first one will be me traveling around to these landmarks in order to debunk the myth that they are haunted. The second will be a video of me crying in the fetal position, sucking my thumb and whispering “I saw grandma” over and over.
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