Being from suburban Boston, I was surprised when I went to school in upstate NY and befriended some kids from outside of Pittsburgh PA and found that not everyone wanted a ‘soda’ … some wanted a ‘pop’. Later on, when traveling to the deep south for my first job I was asked if I wanted a ‘coke’ (or sweet tea, of course), to which I asked if they had Diet Coke. I was told they had all sorts of coke, including Pepsi, Orange, Root Beer … you get the picture. Fact is, where you are from will determine what generic name you give to soft drinks … and conversely hearing someone refer to soft drinks can indicate where they are from.
A site called ‘Pop vs Soda’ is trying to generate a nationwide chart that maps out our term of choice based on where we grew up. Here are the basics of how they are collecting information:
The primary source of data for this study will be submissions from readers of this web page. Obviously, this may not be a completely random sampling, but since the primary objective of the study is to map the regional distribution and not the population distribution per response, this sample should suffice. Also, since a large percentage of internet users are college students who may use dialects not local to their current place of residence, this survey asks for the respondent’s “home town” and the beverage-term used by most of the population there. This data will be imperfect at best, but should be the most accurate possible without actually going into the field, and certainly the most comprehensive study of the field to date.
They have a nice interactive version of the map above and you can click state by state to see how your particular county answered the poll. For me, I grew up in Norfolk County in Massachusetts, which was almost monolithically a soda region. Now I live in New York in Chemung County and work in Steuben County … and each of those were pretty evenly split, with a slight leaning towards pop.
Head on over to PopvsSoda.com to contribute your information! And while you’re at it, have a soda for me!
Source: PopVsSoda.com via Twitter