Make Your Own Tag Cloud

“It is never too late to be what you might have been” – George Eliot

A tag cloud is a fun new way to play with text. The tag cloud pictured above was made using the last chapter of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

This next activity is a lot of fun. It will allow you to create your own personal tag cloud. Remember the descriptive words you wrote yesterday answering the question “what do you do?” Copy these into Tag Crowd a program created by Daniel Steinbock (Stanford).

The program will take your text and create a tag cloud that visually represents your answer to the question “what do you do?” To get an even more accurate picture of your activities, try the following experiment.

For the next 18 hours write down everything that occupies your time. (It helps to divide the day into 15-minute segments.)

One 15-minute segment may look like this: eat, work phone call, work e-mail, call friend, school e-mail, work e-mail. One or two more segments may be filled with your commute to work. Write down everything.

When you are finished with your list, copy it into Tag Crowd and create a new tag cloud.

Do the two clouds adequately represent who you are? Do the people and things that are important in your life get sufficient attention?

Sometimes we get so caught up in our lives that we can’t see where we are spending our time. This experiment is a perfect opportunity to visually see “what you do”.

Print your new tag clouds and put them up where you can see them. If they do not represent the life you want, then create a new and improved tag cloud.

Get out some paint, colored pencils or crayons and start to draw your new cloud. Choose the things that are important in your life and write them in BIG BOLD COLORFUL letters. Fill in the blank spaces with the little things that are still necessary in your life. Don’t let the little things crowd out the important people and things in your life.

Enjoy your new life. Be excited to tell everyone what you do and remember to make time for chocolate.