Why are Texans obsessed with testing their knowledge on The Hunger Games? Why can’t Minnesotans get enough of playing “Name That Candy”?
Quizup boasts 75 million users and calls itself the world’s largest trivia app. The company recently released user data on the most popular trivia topic in each state. The results range from the obvious to the utterly perplexing. (You can view Quizup’s full map on Medium.)
There were a fair number of states where the top trivia topic was an easy guess. It’s no surprise that “U.S. Government” is the most popular topic in the nation’s capitol, for example, or that “Name the Celebrity” is most widely played among Quizup users in California. Given the fact that everyone from Outkast to Soulja Boy to Waka Flocka Flame hails from Atlanta, it makes sense that “Rap and Hip-Hop” is the topic of choice in Quizup’s Georgia user base.
If your state isn’t defined by a reigning industry like politics or Hollywood, chances are that a shared love for a sports team is instead what binds people together. With Alabama being the home of the Crimson Tide and what some say is the epicenter of Southern football culture, it’s no shocker that “College Football” is the #1 trivia topic. In a similar vein, Wisconsin Quizup users found a good outlet for their Packers fever, as did Seattle Seahawks fans in Washington State.
Then come the states that serve as either real or fictional settings forpopular television shows. Most New Mexicans go on Quizup to show off their encyclopedic knowledge of Walter White’s exploits in Breaking Bad. Iowa’s love for trivia on The Big Bang Theory might be because the University of Iowa designed a particle detector featured on the show.
What’s fascinating about Quizup’s analysis is the level of insight a favorite trivia topic can reveal about the cultural preferences and regional knowledge of a state’s inhabitants. The app’s 100,000-plus number of user-submitted and editorial topics range from purely academic (Basic Math) to pop culture-oriented (Game of Thrones) to completely mundane (Name that Candy). A person’s favorite trivia topic is rarely a subject they know very little about; most often it’s a subject they excelled at in school or reflective of their hobbies or pop culture interests.
But there also a smattering of states in Quizup’s analysis where the direct link wasn’t apparent. Why is trivia on The Office the most popular topic for inhabitants of Idaho, when the popular television show was iconically located in Scranton, Pennsylvania? Are notoriously freezing winters really enough to make the film Frozen the #1 trivia topic in state of New Hampshire? Given that it contains the financially strapped Detroit, what can we conclude about the fact that “Retail Logos” is the most popular Quizup topic in the state of Michigan? What about North Carolina’s unexplained love for Harry Potter, New Jersey’s unknown obsession with SpongeBob Squarepants, or Wyoming’s affinity for My Little Pony? Quizup hypothesized that the popularity of trivia focused on children’s entertainment such as Pokémon or Frozen could either be due to nostalgic adults or an increase in younger users. Wyoming’s equestrian culture could explain its love for My Little Pony. Either that, or a hidden subculture of bronies.
But in other instances in Quizup’s ranking, it may just be a case of the data saying nothing at all. As Albert Einstein once said, “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.”
Photo via Hazel1234567/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)