Tuesday, May 08, 2018

The evolution of the blog

May is the month when "Blogiversary" pops up on my calendar alerts and this year brings us to lucky thirteen. I'm a few days late, but I like to pause for at least one post in May in which I reflect on what brings me back to the blog, and maybe what draws you all. I wish I had access to some of the content trackers and analytic software that the media researchers use to follow trends, because I would love to use data to watch the evolution of the blog, but I don't. Back in 2011, I used a web applet called Wordle to make some cool word clouds from my blog feed. Unfortunately, that website no longer accepts RSS feeds, but I've found a less sophisticated one, TagCrowd, that I think will nonetheless give some interesting insights into the focus of the blog over the years (2005-2018).

Some things to remember as you scroll through:

  1. The words are alphabetical, which is not as aesthetic as the Wordle clouds. 
  2. The app doesn't recognize words like "San Francisco" or "shave ice" as one word, so you'll see those words pop up separately, which seems out of place. 
  3. There isn't one for 2014. There were no posts that years as it was the second half of my intern year and the first half of my second year of residency. This was a low time.
  4. Some of the words that show up in the formatting of the posts, like "pm" for the time of day, are among the most common. I tried to exclude some of the most obvious (like "comments"), but got a little lazy as I went on with this. I've selected a threshold of seven appearances, and included a maximum of 100 words in for each year, so take them with a grain of salt. 
  5. The filter on this applet for "regularly used words" is not as good. For example, it highlights "really" in many of these clouds. I suppose I should broaden the range of adjectives I use, but it should also use a better filter, really. 
  6. Some years there just aren't a lot of posts. The first year (2005) is one of these, which is why it looks like buying eggs was in fact the most significant thing that happened all year. 
Here they are, from stratus, to cumulus, to cirrus, the word clouds of Someday I'll be Dr. Dre...

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