As a frequent browser of The Atlantic magazine’s Web site, today I happened across James Fallows’ blog. Fallows is a well-known, heralded writer and reporter for the print edition, and like most everyone else who takes up the pen, he’s hit the blogosphere.
In a recent post, he highlighted a tool for assessing which words were used more frequently in presidential inaugural addresses. The site does most of the work for us, and lists each president’s speech straight from Washington to Obama, but it would be an interesting study for someone to perform an indepth analysis of the 44 addresses and the word choice down through the generations. Perhaps someone already has. Anyway, the tool behind this idea is something called Wordle, which gives us a visual representation of the most oft-uttered words of any text. The words used the most are bigger, while the least-used words appear smallest in the computer-generated model. To have some fun, go here and enter or cut and paste some text. You can hit the “Randomize” button for different appearances or use the “Layout” and “Color” options to change them yourself. Going back to the previous idea about inaugural addresses, here is Washington’s quite brief address visualized,
and here is Obama’s, rendered in the same font and style for comparison:
Also, here are a few of my own posts, rendered in different styles. The following creations are rather “tame” versions, all on a white background, but some other designs are more intriguing. Here are three of mine. They link to the original post: