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Sunday, March 02, 2008

Micro Blog Tweet Points to “Micro V-Card” Word Clouds

I love words, and Sam Lawrence reminded me of just how much when he Twittered an experiment he cleverly ran with Many Eyes . Sam provided visualizations of the way the datasets of some of the top bloggers he was interested in tracking, produced word clouds which in turn provided a glimpse into the psyches or at least current passions of the writer/blogger/thought leaders whose words he analyzed and visualized.

Well, a clever stratagem and one that worked for Sam, not only in allowing folks to take a critical look at how “loudly” certain words played in their own or others’ conversations, but also by brilliantly encouraging a further look into the work he is obviously doing well in dissecting patterns in cross-departmental collaboration Words were the bait, further ego-boo was the absolute dragnet. Almost ½ of the “thought leaders” Sam used in his experiment responded with comments in his blog post and many I’m sure took more than a glance at his previous posts and findings.

And speaking of appealing to vanity, I was quite shocked and rather overwhelmed to see myself in the next round of experiments, this time focused on women, as the first round seemed to be a “male only thing” as a few of us noticed. I enjoyed learning more about the women Sam selected and liked the diversity that his choices highlighted. Whereas the men had a common theme of PEOPLE, the women, had more eclectic word choices.

In addition, I noticed a number of folks in twitterdom running their own self-analysis. For example, I watched in envy as Goldie Katsu whose tweets I enjoy, created her own Goldie’s Gabs cloud. And it wasn’t any surprise to find People, Video, Life prominent in her most used words. (I have been frustrated in my attempts to register to the Many Eyes website, to create my own visualization and will have to contact IBM support it says)

Some of the loudest words surfacing might have been the result of the topical nature of some of the datasets. For example: Yahoo in the news probably created disproportionate Yahoo word cloud size, as someone commented. Since I am a relatively new blogger and not nearly as prolific or notable as Sam’s other women choices, my list was based on a data source of only 4,000 some odd words as contrasted to the 45,000 word sampling of the likes of Kara Swisher.

But regardless, it would indeed be a marvelous calling card to have our most oft used words associated with our profiles. I’m sure it is only a matter of time until someone supplies a widget to make that ability dynamic in blog posts.

For those familiar with the Strength Finder signature themes or those who once took the time and invested $35 to discover their strengths online (or as in my case many years ago, had their company invite them to participate in such analysis) it might be interesting to correlate the word themes, with the signature themes. I randomly checked out this gentlemen Steve Borsch

Steve Borsch's signature themes matched mine almost 1-to-1 (the exception was his Woo strength replacing my Empathy theme), but out of 34 possibilities Ideation, Learner, Strategic, and Input were aligned as themes.

Here's the interesting part for me. When I quickly flipped through his post and biography I found so many common touch points between us. Without knowing a great deal about him, I would even dare to say there were numerous similarities in some of the demographics: age, passions, interests, work experiences, family composition, at least by what I could glean by briefly reading about his interests.

I'd love to see how the "personality" type mappings align or contrast to Sam's micro v-card idea,as Sam calls it, which is boiling us down to our signature words as well as themes.

By the way, this exercise also evoked memories of a childhood passion I had for just sitting down with our 1963 Funk & Wagnalls and skimming the pages. (We couldn’t afford the more expensive Britannica and our’s was the supermarket “buy a volume a week” version with few pictures and lots of words). I wonder now how closely the words that spoke the loudest to me then, in those childhood moments, found their way into my present vernacular.

A big thanks to Sam for catalyzing all these activities and firing up these thoughts.