When You Need to Glance at 70,000 Words

Authored bycascade

Competitive Intelligence projects seem to suffer from two types of problems – no data, or way too much. In the “way too much” category, you have to have ways to summarize the data to get any meaning from it. A cheap (free) and effective way to summarize a bunch of text is to use a tool like Wordle. Wordle.net will take arbitrary text and create a word cloud. The size of the word is proportional to its frequency. To get this to really work, you often need to clean the data a little. And you can do a little smart grouping so that common phrases stay together instead of just component words, but it can show you the themes or trends in a lot of text at a glance:

(word cloud of Mitt Romney’s acceptance speech via elonpendulum.com)

By Sean Campbell
By Scott Swigart

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