Wordclouds of 2009


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?


55 comments on “Wordclouds of 2009

  1. Sajjad K says:

    Why do men get coloured words?

  2. boris says:

    And why does ‘change’ and ‘Change’ count for two different words? Also ‘fun’ and ‘Fun’.

  3. Rick B says:

    Yeah it would have been nice if they did not differentiate between upper and lowercase letters.

  4. badrescher says:

    I see that Wordle is case-sensitive and the “frustrating” was more commonly given by women than men.

  5. Pietro says:

    Yes, Richard: you should uniform the letter case before submitting them to Wordle!

  6. Carl says:

    Interesting. Two out of my three words are featured prominently in the Women’s cloud.

  7. otowi says:

    Women seemed to say Stressful or Stress more, as well as stuff about Friends more. Men perhaps experienced or felt more “Change”.

  8. Manley says:

    I came here to discuss consistent casing of words, but I see it is already covered.

    Please re-run this, I would like to see the results.

  9. rugosa says:

    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.

  10. Rick lehane says:

    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.

  11. Igor Santos says:

    I reckon men’s “Love” and “love” add up higher than women’s “Love” and “love”.

  12. mary says:

    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.

  13. Nopke says:

    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 …

  14. FrankN.Stein says:

    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.

  15. Julie says:

    What’s up with the colors vs black/white presentation? Not very balanced way to present.

  16. 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.

  17. Rex says:

    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.

  18. 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.

  19. Lux says:

    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.

    • Lindamp says:

      The women DO have “Obama” – down the bottom left, near to “death”.

    • Shona says:

      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.

  20. Lindamp says:

    What effect would the colours have on a synaesthete?

  21. Jane says:

    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.’

  22. Gerry says:

    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.

    • Gerry says:

      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.

  23. Yumerin says:

    I managed to redo the word clouds, with the same colors and all lowercase.

    Male wordcloud:

    Female wordcloud:

  24. What are the bets the most popular words occur prominently in horoscopes?

  25. Yumerin says:

    Aarg!! I’ve posted better clouds but my comment is STILL awaiting moderation!

  26. Mainak says:

    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.

  27. Dan says:

    Anyone else notice that the men’s looks vaguely like a bowtie, and the women’s looks somewhat like a fish?

  28. Jennifer says:

    Dan, I was going to make the very same Bowtie/Fish comment…

  29. Significance says:

    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.

  30. elbow says:

    The most telling difference to me is the giant “sad” in the women’s. Friggin’ hormones.

  31. Stephen Long says:

    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?

  32. vtas says:

    Is it that is already too hard for women to keep trying to be equal to men everywhere?

  33. Riayn says:

    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.

  34. Svlad Cjelli says:

    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.

  35. Katie says:

    I notice the words I submitted aren’t in the cloud. Why is that?

  36. Abigail says:

    The men’s looks kind of like a barbell, while the women’s looks kind of like a fish or a submarine! LOL

  37. dottywine says:

    It looks like women use more variety in their wording.

  38. RaMdOmDuDe says:

    Men’s shape is a nuclear bomb, and women is the shape of submarine

  39. NickyNackyNoo says:

    Just validates the old adage, men and women are most definitely ‘wired’ differently!

  40. […] Wordclouds of 2009 « Richard Wiseman’s Blog: […]

  41. […] Wiseman arranges what summarized 2009 for men and women in the form of word […]

  42. […] both men and women to choose three words that summed up last year for them and then he put the results in two word clouds. Here is the one for males: And here is the one for […]

  43. EurekaBizB says:

    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?

  44. Kyoko says:

    I would move to Hawaii and then travel the globe.

  45. Not so poor. Exciting things right here

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