Liz at Digital Democracy recently turned me on to the Wordle. They have posted on their wall these awesome word clouds looking much like the ones below. Wordle.com takes any text you feed it and makes one of these. The size of the words is determined by how often the word appears, so more salient words are biggest and less sailent ones the smallest.

I decided to take all of my documents and create one. Then I made one for all my IM chats and all my emails. The results weren’t shocking, but I really can look at them and recognize my personality and the emails of the past years.

You can do these yourself! To create the documents one on a mac:

  1. Do a spotlight search within your documents folder for “.doc” – that will pull up all of the Word documents.
  2. Select them all and, holding down option, drag them to a new folder. BE SURE TO HOLD DOWN OPTION and make sure there is a little plus sign before you let go. Otherwise your documents will all move out of their little folders and into that one folder.
  3. Open up Automator (it’s in your Applications folder.) Choose a Custom project. Drag all the files into the window, and then drag in the “Convert Format of Word Document” action. Convert it to text. Then drag in “Combine Text Files,” then “New Text File.” Choose where to save it, and hit run!

If you make any wordles, post them in the comments!



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