All right,so the Web is full of useless little online gadgets we dismiss outright. At first glance, I thought Wordle might be one of these gadgets when it was first pointed out to me by my colleague at the Lower Hudson Regional Information Center, John Resanovich. But no — once again, John had a clue about what might catch on, webwise.
Now I see everyone using Wordle, an online application created by IBM‘s senior software engineer Jonathan Feinberg. Using text entered by its users, Wordle creates “beautiful word clouds” that show you the frequency at which words occur within someone’s text. The more often a word occurs, the bigger it appears in the cloud.
So you can enter the text from one of your blog posts, and see what happens. Or, as I did, you can simply create a cute little Wordle using words with a theme. What you see here is my Wordle, created when I added words to describe how I feel about being an empty-nester these days.
At Wired.com recently, the editors had a great idea and entered the words from the keynote speeches delivered at both the Democratic and Republican national conventions, and the results were interesting. Readers noticed, among other things, the tiny word “men” in Michelle Obama‘s Wordle and the large word “man” (reflecting its frequent use) in Sarah Palin‘s Wordle. Take a look at both Wordles here:
The only problem with Wordle at the moment is that it’s not that dynamic. You can save your Wordle by doing a screenshot of it or by printing it. But because IBM owns the rights to Wordle, you can’t make a JPEG or use it in a more dynamic way. Check out the website, especially its gallery of Wordles created by hundreds of users. Very cool.