A website by Jeffrey Veen   more →

Tag clouds and cynical bloggers

07 Jul 2005

TagCloud is a relatively new service that attempts to automate the creation of folksonomies. The service starts off by asking for feed URLs, or an OPML file, and then chews through the content doing some sort of word frequency analysis. Then, it spits out a “cloud” of terms sized by usage. The result is very much like the way Flickr, del.icio.us, or Technorati display popular tags — except these terms should be linking to interesting topics made up of posts from just your feed subscriptions.

My tag cloud, wiht the term 'apparently' highlighted

So I’ve been following mine for a few days now, and for the most part my cloud fills with the usual suspects: weblog, google, ipod, armstrong. But occasionally something pops out based on a news story or trend that the blog community picks up on. In fact, there must have been a recent wave of skepticism in the feeds I read, as the term “apparently” appeared my cloud. Clicking through where dozens of usage of the word by bloggers not fully believing the things they were linking to:

“…apparently, the Bush administration is now trying to…”

“…podcasting is apparently jumping to traditional media…”

“…apparently, it’s now even illegal to think about making P2P software…”

Which makes me wonder, do I read a particularly cynically blogroll? Or is this a characteristic of the medium in general? ​