The wonder of word clouds and some alternatives to Wordle
Last night’s guest lecturer, the charismatic Stephen O’Leary of O’Leary Analytics truly emphasised the benefits of word clouds and in particular Wordle.net.
They can be a great visual aid to dissect the most frequently used words on a particular topic. Useful for presentations to non-internet folk, plus they look seriously fancy.
I was almost tripping over myself to get home and make one for myself, and everyone else I know, tracking our Twitter conversations…
…Hours of fun I expected.
Unfortunately, I fell at the first hurdle, then the second, then decided to try a different sport. You can only create a word cloud from a body of text or an RSS feed, of which Twitter is neither. Upon some research, a Twitter feed can be converted into an RSS feed using this link:
Unfortunately it it looks like this facility will be stripped away soon. Twitter are beginning to restrict their data access, presumably to sell us some kind of marketing product down the line – but that is just speculation, and a story for another day.
After all this research Wordle still won’t play ball, because – as it turns out – I am currently on an old-ish Mac. Last time I checked Mac were on the brink of total world domination, so that surprised me.
In this time of need I turned to the doctor – or Dr. Google as he is more formally known in our house – he fixes everything.
There seems to be a wealth of options available. I found Word It Out a little boring visually, although quite customisable, and it didn’t strip out words like mine or friends’ usernames and urls I have reused. Next!
Tweet cloud floated in as the product I had didn’t know I’d been looking for.
So easy, breezy, beautiful –