Reading—the act of staring at a long-winded, overwritten glob of text, gleaning from it its key ideas, re-checking for subtler nuances and hidden ideas, mentally digesting them, and then finally squaring it all with your pre-existing thoughts and prejudices—is boring. See for example that last sentence, which could have been written simply, “Reading is boring,” or less redundantly, just “Reading.”
The problem is that we need a text-based medium to transfer ideas effectively. For now. Even TV news often requires that its viewers read several hundred words per broadcast. How to fix it? Simple: Eliminate the sentence entirely. Take the reading out of reading, and turn it into looking.
Clearly there is much work to be done, and wordle.net has taken a big step forward. With their user-friendly word-cloud generator, we can now take entire articles (books even!) and boil them down to their most important ideas, purely based on word frequency. To demonstrate the potential of this technology, Metro Pulse has taken several pieces of local writing and run them through wordle.net. Now you can know that, in the opinion of News Sentinel columnist Sam Venable, the noble bass is a greater fish than the damnable trout, because look, he has used the word “bass” at least one more time than “trout.” Want a succinct description of our own Jack Neely’s famous Secret History columns? Glance below. Neely, as you can plainly see, writes mostly about KNOXVILLE.
Plus, look how pretty.
Tags: Reading, For Nerds, Word Clouds, New Media, Pretty, wordle.net