Case Study 10: State of the Union Wordle

16 Apr

President Obama’s first speech in 2010 focused on a broad spectrum of topics, including energy and family issues. Using America and Americans as buzzwords effectively related the topics of the speech to the people he was addressing. In 2011, the primary subject in his speech involved business and the economy as a whole, as well as multiple comparison words like “last.” By 2012, Obama has been focusing on creating jobs for Americans and the continuing state of the economy. “Jobs” is one of the most prominent words over the three years, and it highlights the state of the economy and Obama’s priority to improving the job market.

One of the great things about this tool (and the concept of word clouds in general) is that it clearly shows users words that are the central ideas behind an article. Therefore, a writer can use it both to analyze overall themes and possibly prevent overusing a particular word in their own work. Wordle makes it nearly effortless for a user to pick out the core ideas of either one piece itself or to compare multiple articles and essays on a particular topic. It can even be used to show who will be a prominent presence at a conference!

2010

2011

2012

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