Wordle tracks changes and shows trends

18 Apr

Over time, the key word choices made by President Obama in his State of the Union addresses have shown key changes in the direction of the country as well as his goals. Thanks to the tool Wordle , it is easy to look at the most used words in a speech, blog or paper. Using this tool I was able to pull out the key words from Obama’s three state of the union addresses.

During his first State of the Union address, Obama seemed to be focusing on the less solid concepts and rather chose to focus on words that would excite the American people and encourage them for the upcoming year. This strategy of encouragement without to many facts is reminiscent of his election campaign. He used words like “new” “now” and “people” often. This seemed to be effective in the past, since he is now the president and was giving this speech. So his reasoning behind sticking with that plan seems legitimate. Only, people had elected him and wanted solid change rather than the abstract.

I believe that is why Obama focused in more on solid issues and things to work on in his speech the next year. The economy was still not in a good place and people wanted to know what Obama planned to do about the issue. So, he responded to that demand.  For this speech the words he used the most were, ”people” “new” “jobs” “year” and “work”. He added in the specific issue of jobs started talking in timelines that are more relatable with his use of the word “year” and talked about the work that people are doing in America. This was an improvement on the precious years speech.

Finally, in the most recent State of the Union address Obama focused on issues that were important to his base. Obama knows it is an election year and he is making sure his supporters know that the issues that matter to them matter to him. He talked about “energy” “jobs” “right”. He realized that people are still concerned with the job market but that energy, oil and alternative energy sources are hugely important in the coming years and that these issues matter to the people that vote for him.

I think that Wordle is a great tool for journalist. It allowed me to find trends in what stayed the same and what changed year to year. Wordle is an effective way to quickly analyses a piece or collection of texts and distill the main ideas from it. This is useful to journalists for trend report, successive speeches, and for looking into the writings of people on trial and in the media. It is also a fun way to present trends in a format that appeals readers.  I can see many potential uses for such a tool.

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One Response to “Wordle tracks changes and shows trends”

  1. Ronald R. Rodgers April 19, 2012 at 12:43 pm #

    Good analysis

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