What are we saying?
It is encouraging that people find analyzing data so compelling. Visualizations like the ones you can find at Digg labs can whet the appetite of almost anyone. Environments such as Many Eyes allow users to engage more directly in the dialogue of information exploration. Wordle, a tool that enables you to generate your own word clouds makes visual statements on views that go unnoticed.
Creating a Wordle visualization of your resume seems to be something people enjoy. It reflects back the authorâ€™s personal language for articulating their experience and qualifications. I wonder how many altered their documents to direct the impressions they were creating.
People seem to enjoy sharing word cloud views of the news and politics. Wordle generates beautiful pictures using word frequency; the more often a word occurs the larger it renders. This means that what you put in directly affects what Wordle can turn out. While it includes the flexibility of lower casing words, removing noise words and interactive editing if you spend any time with Wordle, you will find yourself tweaking your content.
In an attempt to practice my PHP skills, I created a simple utility to help automate some text processing prior to working with Wordle. Think of it as the presoak cycle of the word cloud creation process. While it is humble in its scope and function, it can heighten the impact of your visualization. Check out Wordle Presoak if this is the kind of thing you are in to.
This composition below presents variations using Wordle Presoak on the same text pulled this morning from Reuters, Palin says Obama friendly with terrorists. Notice how you can optionally maintain quotes and have them play with the words, perfect for telling a story.
What are your words saying?