Virginia: boring, humid, strict, and important

If you start to type a query into Google, its autocomplete feature will suggest what you might be about to type based on what other people have entered. For example, if you start to type “how fast is…” Google will suggest “how fast is my internet,” “how fast is a knot,” “how fast is the speed of sound,” and more. It can save time, but it’s also a fun way to see what other people are looking for … or thinking. (Mitt Romney is … a unicorn and Barack Obama is … your new bicycle, in case you’re interested.)

Renee DiResta, a venture capitalist and apparently inquisitive type, decided to see what she could learn about the states of the union via Google.

I started wondering, how do Americans really think about “those people” in other states? What are the most common stereotypes? 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.

So what “is” Virginia? According to DiResta, the country thinks we’re boring, humid, strict, and important. (The latter most likely because of our swing-state status in national elections.)

Since she did her research there’s been a little shift. If you try today,”why is virginia so expensive” is now #2 on the list.

Things to keep in mind when you’re speaking with out-of-state clients, no?





About Andrew Kantor

Andrew is VAR's editor and information manager, and -- lessee now -- a former reporter for the Roanoke Times, former technology columnist for USA Today, and a former magazine editor for a bunch of places. He hails from New York with stops in Connecticut, New Jersey, Cincinnati, Columbus, and Roanoke.
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