Monday, November 21, 2011

Reaction: Tag Clouds and the Case for Vernacular Visualization

This article is really interesting and fun to read in a sense that the reader gets a feeling of reading a fun article rather than a serious paper. Both its content and appearance are appealing. The paper has an underlying theme and that is evolution of tag clouds and their use today. It is really interesting to know that tag clouds were invented at least about 90 years back. This article beautifully puts forward how the tag clouds found their way into mainstream media and websites. Really it is fascinating to see how tag clouds have emerged and have found their way into websites and have become an integral part of the media only because of their power and intuitiveness. The authors acknowledge the usefulness of tag clouds for traditional analysis which is more painstaking as a social signifier; at the same time they understand that tag clouds are weak when it comes to their theoretical foundation and need more research, improvement and structuring before they go to be termed as formal visualization technique.

This article assumes that the reader has already encountered some tag clouds and therefore does not go in the internal details. This article I believe mainly aimed at newbie information analysts so that they understand the shortcomings of tag clouds. This article reminds me of a small tag cloud of tags which we have on our course blog.
In entirety I feel the article has a convincing conclusion that the tag clouds need a lot a tweaking to make its way to be known as a formal visualization tool.