Okay, so I’ve got this Tagxedo problem, and it occurred to me the other day to see what the word mapping site would do with the Weather Channel’s Twitter feed. If you’ve read this blog for a while, you know that I’m a longtime Weather Fan who can’t stand TWC’s pointless weather tweets. Think about it: If your company’s name is The Weather Channel, wouldn’t you think that your tweets would talk mainly about weather?
Anyway, just for grins, I thought I’d turn TWC’s Twitter feed into a couple Tagxedo word clouds. The results would look better than my own pitiful blog word clouds. Right?
It’s an amoeba! Just what I always wanted!
Okay, so that one didn’t look so hot (no weather pun intended). Why not try out a weather-related shape for another Tagxedo attempt? I chose a cloud-with-lightning-bolt silhouette. Couldn’t get much worse than the biology lab specimen above.
This is slightly better, even though I didn’t adjust the word count or any other threshholds. From a distance, it’s obviously a cloud with lightning jumping down below it. Up close, it looks kind of silly.
Tagxedo creates word clouds (word maps) according to the number and frequency of words in a text. Twitter, of course, limits messages to 140 characters or fewer, and since it’s used mainly for self-promotion, hashtags and Twitter “handles” will appear most frequently.
Keeping this in mind, I’m glad that some of the largest words in here are weather, hurricane, and tornado. Isn’t it weird that so few other weather-related words appear in large type, though? You know—words like rain, thunderstorm, front, clouds, and so on? Sure, we’re having a drought here in the Deep South, but other parts of the country are seeing rain. Twitter is all about self-promotion, though, so it makes sense that the non-weather words are larger than weather words. (Ugh! I hated typing that.)
Next, I chose a U.S. map silhouette.
Yep, about the same, except in a larger shape. The run-on nature of hashtags and Twitter usernames turns phrases into one word. Thus, Weather Channel becomes #weatherchannel.
Twitter can be helpful. I’ve found dozens of great articles through others’ Tweets. I’ve discovered worthy causes and made new professional connections through Twitter. My 140-or-less attempts have even brought new readers to my blog. However, like any social media platform, Twitter can also be completely useless. Remember the most important guideline about living in Social Mediaville: Whatever you’re doing had better help everybody in this town. When I look at these word clouds from the Weather Channel’s Twitter feed, I’m not sure it’s helping TWC or its viewers.