What cultural differences exist between New York and Silicon Valley?

Answer by Edwin Chen:

For a data-driven answer (I'd been interested in this exact question, so a couple months ago I pulled some Twitter data to look at the differences), here are the words most associated with New Yorkers vs. Silicon Valleyers.*

word            Prob(New York|word)

  • actress         0.8682
  • chick           0.8459
  • theatre         0.8010
  • money           0.7935
  • publishing      0.7854
  • self            0.7854
  • intern          0.7545
  • makeup          0.7512
  • financial       0.7512
  • studio          0.7329
  • records         0.7329
  • magazine        0.7272
  • history         0.7249
  • fashion         0.7181
  • myself          0.7118
  • soul            0.7072
  • peace           0.7072
  • night           0.6871
  • president       0.6871
  • dreams          0.6577
  • model           0.6577
  • journalism      0.6577
  • filmmaker       0.6530
  • news            0.6466
  • mother          0.6466
  • entertainment   0.6466
  • party           0.6408
  • political       0.6408
  • producer        0.6372
  • communications  0.6222
  • actor           0.6169
  • journalist      0.6160
  • website         0.6133
  • radio           0.6133
  • assistant       0.6106
  • executive       0.6058
  • digital         0.6043

word            Prob(Silicon Valley|word)

  • cloud           0.9053
  • hacker          0.8759
  • dev             0.8684
  • mac             0.8453
  • support         0.8453
  • ux              0.8453
  • engineer        0.8321
  • software        0.8223
  • google          0.8199
  • yahoo           0.8095
  • ui              0.7978
  • board           0.7978
  • programmer      0.7978
  • health          0.7946
  • bike            0.7846
  • surfer          0.7846
  • green           0.7758
  • product         0.7707
  • engineering     0.7662
  • data            0.7662
  • games           0.7503
  • cto             0.7474
  • startup         0.7474
  • cofounder       0.7453
  • team            0.7399
  • mobile          0.7395
  • entrepreneur    0.7346
  • before          0.7320
  • careers         0.7320
  • help            0.7320
  • jobs            0.7226
  • helping         0.7207
  • systems         0.7183
  • instructor      0.7146
  • founder         0.7136
  • advocate        0.7119
  • community       0.7107
  • local           0.7083
  • cyclist         0.7083
  • formerly        0.7083
  • tech            0.7034
  • dad             0.6994
  • writing         0.6948
  • developer       0.6933
  • evangelist      0.6886
  • architect       0.6886
  • designer        0.6861
  • gamer           0.6701
  • geek            0.6699
  • friend          0.6692
  • married         0.6692
  • past            0.6670
  • yoga            0.6670
  • baseball        0.6670
  • technology      0.6597
  • teacher         0.6593
  • running         0.6323
  • former          0.6244

Some possible interpretations:

  • Silicon Valley is much more tech– (cloud, hacker, dev, engineer, software, programmer) and startup-driven (startup, entrepreneur, founder). New York is much more into arts/entertainment (actress, theatre, publishing, studio, records, magazine, journalism, filmmaker, news) and finance (money, financial). (Another way to look at it: Silicon Valley higher-ups call themselves ctos and founders, while New York higher-ups call themselves presidents and executives.)
  • New Yorkers care a lot about looks (makeup, fashion). Silicon Valley folks care a lot about sports and health (bike, surfer, cyclist, yoga, running, health).
  • Silicon Valley folks describe themselves through their past (before, formerly, past, former). New Yorkers describe themselves through their future (dreams). (Several ways to interpret this. Maybe SV folks tend to have had more jobs, while NY folks hope to try new things, or maybe SV folks are just older.)
  • Silicon Valley is big on community (support, team, help, helping, community). New York is focused on the individual (self, myself).
  • Silicon Valley has a larger proportion of men (dad, geek). New York has the women (mother, chick).
  • Silicon Valley is more into the locavore movement (green, local).

(Note, though, that the data is biased in that it's only comparing people who use Twitter.)

*I trained a simple Naive Bayes model on Twitter profiles, and these were the words most predictive of being from NY vs. SV. (After keeping only diverse "cultural" words in order to respond better to the question, e.g., filtering out slang words, location words, and too many words of the same type.)

What cultural differences exist between New York and Silicon Valley?

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