Snapshots of Speech through Wordle

18 Apr

Wordle is an interesting website that provides a nice, simplified word usage analysis. I think it can be a very useful application for a quick overview of what words are being used the most in a given text/speech. I think the most practical application is for things like analyzing speeches by various political figures over time. For journalists it will come in most handy for analyzing rhetoric, especially for sites like PolitiFact.

In a quick study of Obama’s three State of the Union addresses you can see the words he favors. He has actually remained pretty consistent through the three addresses, focusing on words like “American,” “jobs,” and “new.” The focus on “jobs” has become a greater focus for Obama as the years have gone on, which tends to make sense given the state of the economy.

Overall though, there’s a fairly interesting opportunity to take a snapshot of a speech or text and synthesize it down to a graphic which can be easily comparable side by side.

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