Saturday, April 26, 2008

The Subject of the Matter

Lately I've been seeing a cool new feature on all sorts of blogs and websites. It's called a tag cloud, and it's kind of an artistic looking picture of words that help you visualize the frequency of certain subjects. I thought it would be fun thing to have on my blog sidebar, but I really had no idea where you got one or how they worked. I figured I had to first actually label all of my posts with a subject--something that I had not been doing in the 1.5 years I've been blogging. So for the last couple of days I've been trying to categorize my almost 400 blog posts according to their main subjects, which is taking me a while, to say the least! Blogger has a pretty slick way of searching for related posts and then tagging them with a label, which is helping quite a bit, but I still think I have a long way to go before I'm finished with this project.

Once I had a good chunk of my posts labeled with a subject, I added a list over on the sidebar so that my visitors could easily see what I babble about the most and then easily get to posts that might be of interest to them. For example, our friends might just want to see posts about our friends, and our distant relatives might just want to see posts about our family and our life. People who share my sense of humor might just want to see stuff that I tagged as funny, while people who share my love of dogs might want to just read dog stories, while my fellow KU fans might only care about KU football and basketball. This will be an easy way for everyone to check out only what they care about!

After I added my list of "Stuff I Talk About" (under the slideshow), I started searching on the web for tag clouds and how I might find a way to make one. I discovered that many brands/versions of tag clouds don't even need posts to be labeled to work. This one called TagCrowd just takes text from a page and makes a cloud of it. Here's a cloud of what's on my blog right now:

created at

Pretty cool, huh? I can't figure out how to make it small enough to fit on the sidebar, and the links to topics don't work, and it's not exactly the kind of cloud I'm really wanting, but I think it's kind of pretty anyway!!

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