Poetry Cloud: Do You Wordle?

President Obama's Word Cloud
President Obama’s Word Cloud

Back in November I did a little post about Wordling, and I even created a word cloud of the President’s acceptance speech. It was fun! Now maybe it’s just me, but other than the Sunday Whirl I don’t see a lot of word clouds out there lately, and I’m not sure why. Perhaps it’s because even though the whole thing started over half a decade ago, people are still a bit uncertain of what use word clouds can be, except perhaps as pretty pictures made of words.

Actually, they can be extremely useful, not to mention just fun for fun’s sake. You want to know what’s important to someone without reading everything in their essay or blog post, heck even their whole blog? Well, if you pump the url, or the block of text into the wordle tool on wordle.net, you will at least get a pretty good idea, just at a glance of what they write about the most. The more frequently the word is used, the larger it appears in the cloud.

Want to analyze your own writing? Or maybe trouble-shoot a speech you have to make in front of the board next week? Why not run it through wordle and see if the weight of your word choice fits what you want to get across? Back when I journaled on Journalspace.com there was a word count feature that would give you the same kind of results in word and numbers. If you were a peace guru, and you discovered that the word violence was among your most frequently used words, you might have taken that as a cue to re-evaluate what your strategy.

And besides, isn’t it just cool to see a picture of what you just said? Seriously, a visual representation of a piece of writing. That’s an incredible idea, especially for visual thinkers and learners, and I think it’s being under utilized. I bet you could think of ways you could use this tool in your company, in sales, marketing, or education. We should do this more. Mostly because, well frankly I think it’s just a lot of fun.

I do a great deal of writing about poetry here on The Dad Poet, and that seems appropriate, but I also write a good bit from time to time about the Dad part of the title, as I am very proud to be the father of three incredible young men. And since I first created this blog as a way to not only keep my writing muscles toned, but to keep my focus on the good things in my life, I write about nature and music and relationships as well. I still want to honor those beginnings of the Dad Poet, when I used writing as a tool to help keep me focused and not only floating, but swimming through some very difficult times.

On my home page at any given moment there are my seven most recent posts visible before you have to click on “previous posts,” and so I entered my front page into the wordle machine last night (You can check out the easy directions about how to do this for yourself) and below is what I came up with. Looks like I’ve been writing a lot about poetry lately. Time for a posted original poem, a proud dad post, and maybe some winter birding, just to keep me balanced.

How about you? What are you writing about? Is it what you want to be focusing on? Try it yourself. Check out the related articles below; just the headlines will give you some ideas of how you can use word clouds. Post your results and link back here. I’d like to see what you come up with, and what conclusions you might make, whether it be about your own writing or someone else’s that interests you. Most of all, have fun. It’s language  It’s pictures! It’s pictorial language. Who knows, maybe it’s art?

My recent posts in a Wordle Word Cloud
My recent posts in a Wordle Word Cloud

32 Replies to “Poetry Cloud: Do You Wordle?”

    1. Thank you, Jennifer! I had been hoping for an acceptance in one of a few journals I had submitted to, so I could link, but no answer, even delayed publication has kept me from doing that. And the birding. . . well, it really has been damned cold here, and I have no back yard to speak of, so I’ve been just too much of a wimp to winter bird. The proud dad thing, well there is always something there. I’ll get on that!


    2. You know, I just discovered something, and that is that I just use the word “just” too much. Isn’t that just dandy? Just what I needed, a pet word. I just have to back off on being so just.


    1. You betcha’. It may be a quirky tool, with limited practical value, and yet, having a new way of seeing what I write, or what others write, seems very valuable. Maybe it’s just novelty, but I think it’s rather fun, and it may be useful. 🙂


    1. The biggest rut I found on page one of my blog was the word Just. Since I was not writing about justice, I assume I just use the word too much. It is helpful, that little tool, and fun. Let me know if you use it and what you discover!


  1. The Wordle of After Hours showed that my most common word is clearly Jennie. After that, though and one. Desire for unity, ambivalence about everything… yeah, it fits.


    1. Indeed. I’ve been feeding it Jane Austen novels–other than names, must and much are her most commonly used words in almost every book. Interesting.


    2. Oooh, interesting. I was only disturbed by my recent overuse of “just,” and it was just a random quirk of speech, not anything about Justice. But Austen and MUST. I bet we could make Much of that.


    3. Yes, there’s a famous article by Nina Auerbach called “Feeling as One Ought About Fanny Price” in which she tries to get a handle on just what Austen is trying to convince us of in Mansfield Park. I’ve been thinking of writing a similar one, because I’m not sure I agree with her, but I haven’t read either the article or the novel recently enough to talk intelligently about them right now.


    4. Oh! Now I remember what I was going to say earlier. You mentioned the Curse in “Lady of Shallot.” I have done some writing on that too. It was for an undergrad paper, but it was good writing and got an A. I have often thought of dusting it off and doing more with it. Add me on Facebook and I’ll share it with you, or maybe I can email it if you’re interested.


    5. Although it was an Arthurian tale, it was written in Victorian times, so I wrote about the plight of middle and upper class Victorian women. Unable to actually interact in the greater world outside where men controlled everything, and unable even to busy themselves at home because that’s what servants were for. . . Well, I know I would change some things if I rewrote it, but I’ll look for the original for you.


    1. Ooh, so you are figuring out the way individual characters talk? Interesting. There used to be something out there. . . a software for word pictures like that. They used it in marketing and training in a company I worked for, something like Brain Storm or something?


    2. I got the idea from a book called Natural Writing. It has helped me greatly through the years in character development, but also plot development. Just start with a word and see where it leads you. HF


    3. Yeah, like that. However, it has the ability to really string out and create an entire story and certainly a well-rounded character. Give it a try. Write something like Grandmother in the middle of your paper. Circle it. Then run a line from it to a characteristic. Now lines can be run from the center circle or the new ones created. You might be amazed where it will take you. HF


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