It’s almost New Year’s Eve and so a good time to look back over 2009.  A few posts ago I asked men and women to come up with three words that summed up 2009 for them.  I originally put the results in Wordle, and produced two wordclouds.  However, there was a problem with upper and lower case letters, and the formatting was a bit strange. Yumerin kindly recreated the wordclouds, correcting for the case and formatting issues.  Here is the one for males….

and females….

What do you make the results? Any overall themes?  Differences between the sexes?


  1. The colours are throwing me, I read it straight off as men being more optimistic or having had a better year- but maybe those are just the colours? I had a rubbish year and am female, but I’m assuming that’s just a coincidence.

  2. I think the most striking thing is that, at first glance at least, they seem almost identical. Maybe human concerns are not very gender spasific.

  3. I think the color difference does affect the perception some. Women have “love”, “hope” and “stressful”, as the largest words but only stressful appears significant.

  4. I myself am not into dividing male and female, differences among people is more my thing.

    Did you put the female cloud in grey on purpose?!

    Not on .. that’s more my inner cloud re 2009 (and 2008 and ..). Not that this will change the outside structures that much (well, become even more active in some ways probably).

    My 2010 cloud .. or better said .. sun … and it will only rain money …

  5. fhe female perspective seems to be more personal, while men seem to look back to globa events – with Twitter, Obama and his-change slogan not showing in the female cloud for example.

  6. I experience the same bafflement as others regarding why the women don’t get theirs in colour. There must BE a reason, because otherwise no psychologist would ever fail to control such an obvious variable, but what?

    The only reason that sort of half makes sense is that it’s a second layer to the psychological experiment, to see how people respond to the difference in colour, but insofar as people respond to it by asking why the women don’t get theirs in colour, the result is nothing if not predictable. I am unsatisfied with that explanation, and remain baffled.

  7. In the women’s cloud, “love” and “hope” are actually bigger than “stressful”, but it took me a while to noticed because they’re vertical and are paler.

  8. Just a horrible way to present data. Whatever “artistic” merit there is to it, randomly coloring, rotating, and scattering words at different sizes based on frequency isn’t really useful to me. For example, “Work” and “Love” for men *seem* to be about the same size, but how close are they really? For men we have “love” about the same size as “stressful” for women, but do they represent the same relative value? Also for women, “stressful” occupies more area, is oriented to be more readable, and is darker than “love”, giving it much more prominence despite what looks like a smaller font size. I’d much rather have an ordered list with actual numbers.

  9. Both genders are consistently corny, though admittedly the males are less predictable. The female version could apply to pretty much any year in the history of mankind, whereas the males had some inclusions like “twitter”, “Obama”, even “climate” is more specific than “hope” etc. To be honest, I don’t even read those words, my eyes just glance over the lot and I already know what words are going to be there. Some imagination and individuality wouldn’t go astray!

    Most of those words have pretty much come to have no meaning, except as stated above.

    1. When I think of the year in my own world it’s deaths and births, weddings and break ups, work and play.

      To the world obama and climate change and twitter might be important, but not to me personally.

  10. Does the size of the words indicate the frequency of them? If that’s true, women have more variety in their word choice. It seems a lot of men used ‘change.’

  11. The case issue is something that should have been fixed already! Really annoying and completely messes up the results.

    The color vs black and white thing is also stupid.

    The only thing I can currently tell from this mess is that men appear to have been indoctrinated by Obama.

    1. Also noticed that the shaped used for the cloud has been changed, which also makes a comparison harder.

      Words such as stressful need to be combined with their root words, “stress” in this case.

  12. It is a nice survey but nonetheless not very conclusive. For one the number of people in the survey were very limited. Secondly, the type of people in the survey were all who had free access to the internet. I think it would be very wrong to draw any conclusions from these.

    That being said, it is always nice to hear what the other sex has to say about things – interesting but not very conclusive.

  13. With the new clouds, it looks like women described more feelings and men usd more nouns. Exciting, challenging, and stressful might all relate to change.

  14. Fascinating. Many thanks for this, Richard. I don’t know what I make of the word clouds, although I think it’s noteworthy that women seemed to be more stressed than men this year. What I’d be VERY interested to see is how much the word clouds would change from year to year. In other words, is this just a representation of how men and women see 2009, OR: is it a representation of how men and women see ANY year, and maybe life in general?

  15. The female word cloud seems much more negative than the male word cloud so much so that I can’t even see the word ‘happy’ in the female cloud.

  16. I notice that the male cloud is less homogenous.
    Could imply that males are more (because of the obvious inversion from the cloud) homogenous than females.

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  18. How about creating a wordcloud that includes only +positive+ words? (Let’s give that this symbol: +wc .)
    What if it takes only 6 hours for everyone on the planet to have heard about this suggestion to +wc ? (The ultimate time-trial starts NOW!?!?)
    What if 6 hours from now, EVERYONE on the planet suddenly stops what they are doing and takes 5 minutes to create their personal +wc (if not on the ‘net then internally, in their heart and mind)?
    What if everyone simultaneously +wc’ing results in such a cataclysmic +energy+ spark globally that it instantly obliterates every -energy- quark? (We would live to see EVERYTHING that’s sick, hurt, ugly, scary, evil, etc., healed in the blink of our eyes. Talk about the ultimate makeover reality show! This would be like the Captain of the Titanic doing a 180 one second before hitting the iceberg!)
    What if everyone whose current job is mainly -energy- (e.g., our men and women in the armed forces, prison guards, insanely stressful occupations, etc.) are suddenly unemployed and finally get to use their talents to do what makes their heart soar?!?
    What if everyone who reads this decides to float their +wc over their head wherever they go from now on?

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