Image by Wordle and inspired by Reuters
Here’s one of those fun, quasi-pointless websites that can quickly gobble up your time. Wordle is an online app that turns paragraphs into art.
It tears apart sentences and sprinkles the text into visual word clouds, with the most frequently used words taking up the most space.
The process is surprisingly easy: Paste in some text – a journal entry, famous speech, term paper – and click "Go." The algorithm does all the heavy lifting and has a surprisingly clever artistic eye. After Wordle assembles your text collage, you can add your own touches. Fiddle with the font. Adjust the alignment. Correct the colors. Or just hit “randomize” for a complete do-over.
If you need to justify this huge time-waster to a friend or employer, there are some useful applications, even if they are very unscientific. Since the program emphasizes words that are used more often, playing with Wordle can measure the depth of your vocabulary – “Oh dear, I use ‘like’ way too much” – reveal hidden biases – “Clearly that Chris Gaylord blogs about Google far too frequently” – or use it as an artistic alternative to spreadsheets and pie charts – “See boss, I was doing work after all.”