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Owner: websterwest
Created: Sep 9, 2011
Share: yes
Views: 2734
Tags: word, wall, twitter
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The StatCrunch Word Wall
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Most stat packages don't offer the ability to analyze textual data.   Unfortunately, textual data is everywhere on the web.  It is most commonly summarized in a tag cloud (sometimes called a word cloud) where the most frequent words in a text are displayed in a larger font.  For an example,  the most popular tags attached to photos on the Flickr site can be found here.  One negative about a tag cloud is that the length of words can lead to misconceptions about frequency.  For example, even if art and photography both occur the same number of times, photography may look more prevalent because it is a longer word.  The ever changing font size in a tag cloud also leads to awkward line spacing between the lines of tags displayed, which can be visually unappealing.  

StatCrunch now offers an alternative to the tag cloud called a word wall that addresses these issues.  For textual data stored in StatCrunch columns, the word wall highlights the most common words by displaying each word inside a bar with a width that is proportional to the number of times the word occurs. The bars are filled with different colors to better separate them visually.  The bars are also stacked in a manner to fill the space available within the graphic.  Most word walls are also best absorbed in a western reading style manner with the most common words at the top left of the graphic and less common words at the bottom right.  There are exceptions to this as the underlying algorithm attempts to fill the space as much as possible.  One might think of a word wall as a bar graph where the bars have been labeled and  rearranged from top to bottom in  decreasing order in terms of size with an occasional exception to better fill the graphic area.

An excellent example of a word wall can be found in the StatCrunch Twitter application.  This application loads tweets from the Twitter social media site into StatCrunch for analysis.  The static graph below shows the last 400 tweets from President Barack Obama (Twitter screen name BarackObama) as of September 9th, 2011.  Within StatCrunch the word wall is interactive in that when a user clicks on a word, the associated rows in the data table are highlighted.   The StatCrunch Twitter application goes a step further and displays the selected tweets below the word wall. 

Result 1: Word Wall for President Barack Obama   [Info]
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Tell us what you think of the word wall in the comments section below.

HTML link:
<A href="">The StatCrunch Word Wall</A>

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