Collective noun word clouds

Some time ago, @danacea asked What is the collective noun for Twitterers? on her blog. This ellicited some excellent suggestions, which are indexed on All Sorts here. A twat of twitterers was amongst the suggestions (in honour of David Cameron). Other celebrities were named directly, including Britney, Fry and the beloved Fail Whale. Both procrastination and distraction came up, which says much of how we view Twitter. Also popular, was a trend of twitterers.

The blog post finished with a word cloud generated by Wordle. If you haven’t come across Wordle before, you should have a go with it. It is a fun little toy that generates colourful clouds of words, based on input text. The words vary in size, depending on the frequency of their usage in the source text. You can see @danacea’s word cloud here. This inspired us to have a go at creating a word cloud of our own.

Wordle cloud of Twitterers

In creating her word cloud, Danacea copied the text from the All Sorts page of collective nouns for twitterers. This is a good start, but there is quite a lot of text on the page which is not really relevant. For example, the words “Seeded” and “LIKE” appear after each collective noun suggestion. Wordle draws the most frequently occuring words largest, and so the words “Like” and “Seeded” appear huge in Danacea’s word cloud!

All Sorts page on Twitterers

All Sorts has a hidden feature, an Easter Egg if you like. For each page that lists collective noun suggestions there is a plaintext equivalent. To see it, just add .txt at the end of the URL, and hit enter. This should load a special plaintext version of the page (see diagram).

All Sorts hidden page on Twitterers

The plaintext version doesn’t contain irrelevant words such as “seeded” or “LIKE”. More importantly, rather than listing each collective noun once, with a list of people who have voted for it afterwards, it repeats the entire collective noun phrase for each vote. This means that the most popular collective noun suggestions are given more weight in Wordle.

Make your own collective noun Wordle art

Fancy having a go yourself? Create collective noun word clouds with Wordle by pasting the text from any plaintext page on All Sorts into the text area on this page. If you are pleased with your creation, why not post a link to it in the comments below.

Here are links to a few plaintext pages, to get you started:

hipsters, pirates, zombies, geeks, lawyers, politicians, bankers, librarians, poets.

We’ve also set up a group on Flickr for collective noun clouds. Lets fill it up!

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You should follow @collectivenouns on Twitter here.