Harvard bros should hang their heads in shame. According to Yelp, frequenters of Harvard Square are less likely to use the term "frat" in their reviews than patrons downtown and around the Boston University campus.
The site has pooled its vast collection of more than 39 million local reviews of restaurants, shops, and other businesses to create Wordmaps—heat maps which demonstrate the prevalence of certain keywords in reviews of establishments around major cities worldwide. Instances of a given word are shaded in red on a Google map. The more fiery the color, the more frequently that keyword appears in reviews. On each map Yelp has helpfully provided a pre-set list of keywords for each city. For Boston, they include some of our favorite (and least favorite) terms, ranging from "chowder" and "cocktails" to "pbr" and "hangover."
Accordingly, the "frat" Wordmap of Boston produces a pathetic hint of red around the Square that literally pales in comparison to the bright bursts of red in Boston’s apparently more fratty enclaves. Our advice for Harvard bros: Get thyselves to a gym and tone up those biceps so that perhaps someday, that faint red will burn bright crimson.
Not surprisingly, this wasn’t the only pattern on the Boston map that was fairly predictable; uses of "pasta," for instance, were highly concentrated in the North End, known for its Italian restaurants. However, others, particularly in our neck of the woods, yielded some surprising results.
For example, the keyword "tourist" generates a fairly light shade of red around the Square. After countless attempts to circumvent the hordes unwisely touching the foot of the John Harvard statue, we at Flyby would have expected a more concentrated hue.
Though there is a fair amount of "hipster" activity around Harvard, the Allston and Brighton neighborhoods of Boston take the cake for highest density of the keyword, contrary to what the Boston Globe’s Dreamtown Finder rankings would suggest.
And vegetarians, shield your eyes. Here in Harvard Square we are apparently nestled smack in the middle of one of the great epicenters of bacon in the Boston area.
Surprises aside, the question remains: what does a concentration of a word even indicate? If there are so many reviews that mention bacon in the Square, does that mean that the local varieties of the much-loved fatty meat product are any good? A quick perusal of a few Yelp reviews reveals that users may not necessarily use a keyword in a positive light.
One disgruntled Yelp user’s review of Tasty Burger reveals that the chefs at the restaurant failed to include the bacon on his burger. The reviewer writes: "What really pissed me off though is that if they have a 'special of the day' called CHICKEN BACON RANCH burger, HOW ON EARTH is it possible to forget one of the KEY INGREDIENTS?!"