Are your tweets full of $#@*? You might be a psychopath

By Hamish McNicol for APNZ

A brawl in Rotorua is being traced to Facebook comments. Photo / Thinkstock
A brawl in Rotorua is being traced to Facebook comments. Photo / Thinkstock

Using foul language in your tweets indicates you are a psychopath, a new study shows.

The research by London's Online Privacy Foundation found constant swearing on Twitter revealed specific personality traits about the user.

Tweets that included the words "die", "kill" or "bury" were also considered warning indicators.

A search of New Zealand Twitter users showed comedian Jeremy Elwood fits the bill.

Elwood has tweeted swear words, as well as both "kill" and "die", a total of 25 times in the past six months, including a over the Auckland motorway system in May.

"Auckland? When you want to close several motorway onramps, a f***ing warning sign before the f***ing ramp itself wouldn't f***ing kill you."

Elwood told APNZ today he used his Twitter account daily for a mix of getting his own opinions out as well as keeping in touch with people.

"Funnily enough, I have done a bit of research into psychopaths for a play that I am in at the moment.

"The criteria are vague enough that more people than not would probably tick enough of the boxes to get some people worried."

He said he didn't take the findings of the survey too seriously.

"I think under that logic every comedian on the planet probably qualifies as a psychopath in terms of the language we use.

"But also in terms of the insanity of what we do."

He said he did put a little bit of thought into what he tweeted.

"The main reason for that is because I'm doing quite a lot of travelling in and out of North America at the moment and there has been some bad news stories with some kid who got deported last year.

"He tweeted 'I'm going to destroy Los Angeles' - by which he meant I'm going to throw a massive party."

The tweets of about 3000 volunteers were monitored by a computer programme for the study and 1.4 per cent were found to show psychopathic trends, the Daily Mail reported.

The research said employers could use the study to screen potential employees before they were hired.

Police could also use the information to identify potential threats, it said.

London's Online Privacy Foundation head Chris Sumner told the paper that companies existed that would research people's social media habits.

"People are making judgements about others based on social media.

"However, almost all research says more research is needed before social media screening should be considered for use."

- APNZ

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