Have you ever tried using Wordle? If not, I highly recommend it!
I had stumbled upon it several months ago, but was reminded of it when prepping for my upcoming participation in Peter Kim's panel at the Enterprise 2.0 Conference in Boston in just a few weeks with Patricia Romeo and Joan DiMicco! The cool part - Joan knows the guy who made it ;-)
We were chatting about the topics that many people have expressed an interest in with regards to lessons learned when managing an internal enterprise community, and discovered we have many, many things in common.
Joan suggested putting our bullets in Wordle to create a visual representation of the commonalities instead of just putting words up on a slide - AWESOME! You'll need to attend the conference to see this coolness, or, I might just share it here afterwards ;-)
What is this Wordle thing?
For those familiar with communities and the notion of tagging, you've probably come across a "tag cloud" in your day -- essentially a cloud of the tags most commonly used in a community, blog, "pick your area" - it lets you see at a quck glance what the prevalent topics are in that given area.
Wordle does the same thing for you - only you can either specify a website or you can paste in your own text, perhaps from a sample of writing.
So, why would you use Wordle, anyway? Ok, I'll tell you what I like to use it for:
It's a great way to see at-a-glance what your blog, twitter account, or any other website is "talking about" most frequently - Are you getting across the message you want to? Do you need to adjust?
What's the main point of what you're about to read? Take Google's top news story today, for example:
Or, check out what our Enterprise 2.0 panel will be about, based on the one paragraph description online:
Or here's another version:
One of the reasons I think Wordle is great - it gives you the visually appealing version that can sometimes be lacking in text heavy sites, descriptions, etc. It lets you see things in a whole new light. It boils down the prevalent topics/themes, and lets you decide for yourself if it's worth investing your time. You can also pick fonts, layouts, and color schemes to make it jive well with just about any format or presentation you're looking to include it in.
Not to mention, it's also wicked cool! ;-)