Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Cloudy Speeches

I cannot help but wonder how word clouds will affect political speeches in the future. Rhetorical devices can be persuasive when spoken, but seeing a speech in word cloud form makes it clear that the speaker spent more time delivering nonsensical phrases than addressing important topics. Maybe politicians will start using silly phrases like "American people" and "Wall Street"/"Main Street" less frequently. Or maybe they will try to game the system, using words like "health care" a lot but without actually saying much. Or maybe nothing will change at all.

Below is a screenshot of President Obama's Speech to Congress, February 24, 2009.

As for gaming the system, Many Eyes makes that difficult. When you scroll across a word, a drop down box displays the sentences in the speech where the word appears.

No comments: