Back in July, I wrote a post about a Web site called Wordle.net, a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text.
I love word clouds because they can help you decipher the thesis to a writer or speaker’s piece with the stroke of a key. Wordle.net adds flair to these clouds by augmenting them with unique fonts and color palettes turning them into virtual works of art.
I decided to put Wordle to the test tonight by taking a portion of the transcript from Friday night’s McCain Obama debate and putting it through the site’s application. What came out on the other end was simply disappointing. Beyond the names of the two Presidential candidates and Jim Lehrer, the moderator of the debates, nothing but superfluous words bubbled up to the top. Words like, ‘just’, ‘now’, ‘know’, ‘make’, and ‘going’.
In truth, I thought the McCain Obama debate was rather substantive — a spirited discussion that yielded a better understanding of each candidate’s experience and vision for the future. But Wordle tells a different story — a story of words, rhetoric and politics as usual. You be the judge.