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Canada's most vulgar city? Take a #%@! guess

If Brampton, Ont., is looking for a new slogan, it turns out it can make this particular claim to fame: "Brampton, we inspire people to swear on Twitter more than any other city in Canada." But then again, considering a new poll's findings, that slogan should probably end with an emphatic, boastful, "dammit!"

Tbk Creative, a digital marketing and social media agency based in Toronto and London, Ont., released an infographic on Monday that purports to show Canada's most vulgar cities on Twitter.

"In a recent tbk Creative review of over 1, 000, 000 tweets across Canada's largest cities, here is the ranking of cities where the terms f&@k, sh*t, da#%it are mentioned most per city-centric tweet," reads the infographic.

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Brampton, a city of close to half a million people west of Toronto, ranked first, with those terms appearing in 1.41 per cent of all tweets. The rest of the top 10, in order, were Hamilton, London, Toronto, Laval, Montreal, Halifax, Quebec City, Winnipeg and, in last place, Ottawa, where the words "f&@k," "sh*t" and "da#%it" were mentioned in 0.43 per cent of all tweets.

You might conclude from the infographic that we need to take Brampton aside and wash its filthy mouth out with soap. But a look at the methodology used by tbk Creative says otherwise.

First, the basics. To determine each percentage, the company looked at what cities had the largest per centage of "vulgar-related" tweets compared to total city tweets, not the cities that were tweeting the most. It looked at 1, 089, 949 Tweets that were aggregated from Oct. 7 to Nov. 5, 2011.

But here's the problem, as explained on tbk's website.

"The tweets we aggregated that included the vulgar term must have been combined with the city's name. This means, not every tweet came from the City or its citizens, but instead were simply tweets that mentioned the city name and the vulgar word. Draw your own conclusions."

Um, okay. Here goes. Conclusion: if someone in Toronto tweeted "I love trips to Brampton, da#%it!" that would count against Brampton. Or if someone in Ottawa tweeted "Sh*t I love Laval" that would count against Laval. So it's misleading to call this a list of Canada's most vulgar cities on Twitter. It's more appropriate to call it the cities most often paired with vulgar terms on Twitter. But that's hardly very sexy, now is it?

One last note. There is a vast cornucopia of vulgarity, a veritable sea of foul, filthy words both on Twitter and in the real world. None of the fun ones can be printed in a family newspaper, but you know what I'm talking about. George Carlin once discussed seven of them.

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But rather than include more of them, the folks at tbk limit "vulgar" words to "f&@k," "shi*t" and "dam#%it"?

For a "creative" agency they sure are limited in their swearing repertoire.

Tell us: How much do you censor yourself online? Do you tweet like you speak?

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About the Author

Dave McGinn writes about fitness trends for the Life section and also reports for Globe Arts. Prior to joining the Globe, he was a freelance journalist, covering topics from trying to eat Michael Phelps' diet to why the Joker is the best villain in comics history. He's working on improving his 10k time. More

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