A very British obsession moves to Twitter

The British are well known for being obsessed with the weather.

UK tourism chief Sandie Dawe hit out at the country’s “utter obsession” with the weather earlier this year, adding: “It is only the Brits that have a complete and utter obsession with our weather. The rest of the world are less interested. Frankly, people do not come here to lie on a beach. That is not our offer. They come for culture, sightseeing, and they come all times of the year.”

And Oscar Wilde famously condemned talking about the weather as the “last refuge of the unimaginative”.

But, it seems nothing is enough to put us off discussing current conditions or what the forecast has in store for us. And, these days, as well as it being the subject of conversation in shops or at the bus stop, we’re also going digital to voice our opinions on it.

New research has found that British Twitter using discuss the weather more often, and in more negative terms, than their counterparts in any other country.

Analysis carried out by social media monitor Brandwatch discovered by just over 20 per cent of all discussions across Twitter about the weather in any given week come from Britain, with the Greeks following in second place with 15.3 per cent of comments.

And British tweets about the weather are also more likely to be negative than those of any other country, according to the new research, with nearly nine per cent of posts dedicated to meteorological moaning..

Perhaps it isn’t surprising given some of the weather we’ve had of late with freakishly heavy downpours forcing families from their homes due to flooding and snow causing transport chaos with flights and trains delayed and motorists battling home in dangerous conditions.

It can’t all be down to how much bad weather we suffer through though because Sweden, Finland and Denmark, which all have much colder temperatures, had almost double the amount of positive tweets than negative tweets about conditions.

The research was based on 300,000 tweets posted in 20 different countries.

It comes after an earlier study which showed Brits use the weather as a social prop. That research found that more than half of us talk about the climate at least once every six hours and a quarter of use conversations about the weather as an icebreaker in social situations.

Around 20 per cent said weather talk was an easy way to appear friendly to strangers and 12 per cent said it helped to keep conversations safe and impersonal when meeting someone new.

Kate Fox, director of the Social Issues Research Centre said: “Britons need weather talk to help us overcome our social inhibitions and handicaps. The variability of the British weather makes it an idea medium for our social messages.”

A spokesman for the Met Office said: “This research shows that us Brits are just as obsessed with the weather in our online conversations as we are in conversations in the street or down the pub. The popularity of our Twitter, Facebook and blog pages is more proof that the weather is a national obsession and a big part of our national identity.”

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