Sunday, August 8, 2010

What shapes can you see in the (Tag) Clouds?


Today I was accepting a LinkedIn recommendation from a colleague of mine (thanks Prashant) when I thought to myself, wonder what all these 20+ recommendations say about me in aggregate.

So I started a 15min project to figure that out. Using a frequently overlooked social media capability called Tag Clouds I was able to get a feel of that.

Using Wordle I was able to quickly pull together the tag cloud and here's what it said.

Wordle: tag_cloud_ln_recomm

Update: Here's another tag cloud that removes words like "Oracle", "Siebel", "Corporation", "Systems", "worked", "directly", "indirectly", "product", "manager". LinkedIn has these words recurring in all the recommendations as part of the standard format. So while these words were repeating at a high frequency they were mostly redundant. Unless you were trying to decipher from the cloud on where I've worked the most in my career (Siebel System) or in what roles (Product Management), that information was not useful in conveying sentiment.

Wordle: tag_cloud_ln_recomm_2

I've used tag clouds in the past to sense the sentiment or direction of customer comments or issues. Often times we ask customers to classify comments and issues by asking them to select from a set of drop-downs so they can help classify their input. However I've found that tag clouds often give you the next level of insights that direct classification can never provide. A very social way of viewing customer input as sentiment.

So how did I go about doing this?
  • Navigated to my public profile on LinkedIn
  • Scrolled all the way down to where all Recommendations are listed
  • Dragged the mouse across all the text and copied the content using Ctrl-C
  • Pasted the content into Notepad
  • Replaced all occurrence of "Siebel Systems" and "Oracle Corporation" the two organizations where I've worked over the last 10 years of my career.
  • Copied and Pasted the text into the Textbox on Wordle
  • Visualized the tag cloud
  • Published the tag cloud as public so I can share it and put it here on my blog.
Try it out and see what your LinkedIn Network has to say about you, do come back and post them here in the comments :-)