Thursday, July 26, 2007

Tacoma, Tag Clouds and Technorati

I would like to use some Tacoma blogs to illustrate one example of visualizing content, Tag Clouds. You will find that over the next few years that web visualization in new and different forms will emerge, with tag clouds being one of them. Currently, Technorati uses tag clouds to give a viewer a general sense of what the aggregate content of a given blog reflects. There is also a lesson here in how tagging is important and how it can also leave the wrong impression.

In each of the examples, Tacoma as a tag is significant. Because the blog examples use the tag as a feeder to FEEDTACOMA, the word Tacoma's prominence makes a great deal of sense.

First, what does a Tag Cloud tell you. Here is an example from chiz.ag using a tag cloud on the 2007 Presidential State of the Union Address. In one simple visual snapshot, you get a sense what the speech was about.



For a closer look at what the cloud means, here is the legend for this visual map.



If you want to gain a bloggers self perspective, then go to Technorati and search on your(or your favorite) blog.

For my blog:


I think it does a reasonable job of summing up with this blog is about.

For www.erikemery.com:

Again, I think it is a fair representation of the site. Because Erik uses more tags, the resulting representation is more complete.

How about Jamie at Thrice All American?



The cycling and architecture tags are smaller, but give a distinction to the overall content. As a reader of the blog, I know that cycling is important to the writer.

One more before I get to a small caution.

Here is the SPEW cloud:

Arts, Culture, Food, Drink, Music. Check. Bobble Tiki. Check.

However, with any representation, it can be skewed. Take a look at Exit133, one of my favorite, and the South Sounds more popular, civic blogs.


I love their Friday Satire and Spoof entries, but they are not at all the prominent voice of the blog. Getting involved, civic interest, downtown development and support of business and the arts would be my first blush description to anyone who asked.

It is because of the need to make sure panic does not ensue from the Exit133 readership that any satire is clearly labeled as such. By protecting the "Orson Welles" "War of the Worlds" susceptible minority, the site inadvertently might give someone who looked at their Tag Cloud the wrong impression.

There were a couple other sites I wanted to show, but they don't employ tags. That probably makes little difference today, but in the next few years, we'll be looking at the web in a different way.

UPDATE
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Here is another excellent example from the web site federalwaygraffiti.blogspot.com which identifies locations that have been tagged with graffiti.

4 comments:

Erik said...

Very cool to see a tag cloud for erikemery! Didn't realize I talk about Tacoma that much :) Thanks!

noisms said...

I was thinking about this very thing earlier today, when I realised the tag cloud for my blog makes it sound like something the other writer and I really didn't conceptualise it being.

Anyway, I found your blog through the "next post" button and found it very thoughtful and interesting. Thanks for writing - I'll keep reading.

Andrew Fry said...

Thanks noisms. I noticed from your site that you're from Liverpool. About half my family are from there on my Moms side. I have a cousin from there who works in television and film, mostly for the BBC. He created "Vincent", "Lenny Blue" and "Anyone and Everyone" among others. Looking forward to heading back there some day.

noisms said...

Yeah, I'm a Liverpudlian - for my sins. Although next year Liverpool is the European Capital of Culture, which means it gets a whole lot of money to develop the arts across the city, which should be pretty exciting.