Wordle.net’s word cloud can be useful for reporters

By SARAH HARTNIG

Although most politicians’ speeches are typically well-written (stylistically, at least),  it is, at times, frustratingly difficult to sift through their unabashed name calling and actually grasp the overall message behind their embellished, over-the-top arguments and anecdotes.

For example, I’ve yet to see a political ad in which one qualified, respected individual simply expresses the outlines of their party platform. Rather, it seems as if every candidate merely strives to diminish his or her opponents’ political (and sometimes familial) reputation.

Thankfully, an English composition professor struggled with the same issues during the 2008 election and discovered a website that truly makes it easy to figure out what the candidates are actually saying.

Wordle.net is a free, no-subscription-required website that generates unique, one-of-a-kind word clouds from text supplied by their users.

Although the creators of http://wordle.net do indeed refer to their product as “a toy,” I must humbly disagree with their assertion as their word cloud generator clearly serves as a wonderfully useful tool — especially in terms of assisting their users to discern the greater goal of an given politician from his or her relentless dependency on hyperbolic lunacy.

For example, following the 2008 election I used http://wordle.net to better evaluate President Barack Obama’s inaugural address.

Thus, even if I missed a few words here or there or was, for whatever reason, unable to understand a section or two, so long as I effectively copy/paste his speech into http://wordle.net, the word cloud generator creates a concise, easy-to-read grouping of the text’s most frequently used words or phrases.

So, the next time you hear a candidate’s speech you can’t quite understand, copy/paste a copy into http://wordle.net and better familiarize yourself with their overall intentions.

Enjoy!

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