What Does Your Blog Say About You?

 

Photo from joelogon

Photo from joelogon

 

Well, what does your blog say about you? More than you would think. Certainly spilling your brain on the page should reveal who you are, but there are also quite a few services that you can use to evaluate your blog, and in some cases its gender or its personality. Is it possible that your blog writing style could be very different from what you believe your personality and characteristics are? Sure, I think so. People can change their mentality when they write; they can change who they are.

Wordle.net is able to generate a word cloud that shows you which words you are using the most in your blog. This is not a tally list, but a visual representation of your most often used words. The words that are used most appear larger. It’s a nice visual snapshot of the words you use most.

Gender Analyzer uses Artificial Intelligence to read your blog and determine if it was written by a man or a woman. Behind the scenes, a text classifier hosted at uClassify.com has been trained on blogs written by men and women. A month ago, Gender Analyzer told me that my blog was written by a woman. However, I must have written about very manly things since then, because it now realizes that this blog is written by a man. And to keep it that way, let’s load this paragraph with some uber-masculine keywords: football, chicks, balls, beer, mustache, fight, piss, gun.

Typealyzer analyzes your blog to tell you what your Myers-Briggs personality type is. It also gives you a really cool visualization of a brain map that shows the part of the brain you’re using when you write. This blog (mikemywords.com) is an ISTP (Mechanic). The site’s description is this: The independent and problem-solving type. They are especially attuned to the demands of the moment are masters of responding to challenges that arise spontaneously. They generally prefer to think things out for themselves and often avoid inter-personal conflicts. The Mechanics enjoy working together with other independent and highly skilled people and often like seek fun and action both in their work and personal life. They enjoy adventure and risk such as in driving race cars or working as policemen and firefighters.

This is somewhat peculiar, because for years, my Myers-Briggs tests have shown that I am an ENFJ. An ENFJ (which you can read about through the hyperlink) is quite literally the opposite of an ISTP. In Myers-Briggs, you are an E or an I, an N or an S, an F or a T, a J or a P. So, ISTP seems to be the opposite of ENFJ. Again, perhaps proving the point that your “blog voice” may be quite different than your real self. 

This is something to be conscious of. Who are you when you are writing your blog? Who do you want to be when you are writing your blog? After looking at the word cloud, the gender and the personality of your writing – do you want to change the style of your writing to better fit who you actually are?

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4 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Wolfy said,

    Interesting.

    I’m not sure I see the importance of those applications, because what a statistical program reads isn’t what people read. But from the background of a writer I can say that voice is incredibly important in written communication. But what is the goal of a piece of writing? To tell a story? To evoke emotion? To change a mind? To piss someone off? To rank high in a google search? Those are the high level questions that you want to answer. Then relate your results to that datum.

    If it’s input you’re looking for Mike; if it’s creativity sharing, workshopping, brainstorming, you’ll get farther by buying your friends a tallcan and asking them for feedback while they drink it. Automated web services aren’t going to make you a better writer. Granted, there’s no SEO in that.

    -M

    ps your header image is awesome

  2. 2

    Mike McDowell said,

    Yeah, I’m not ready to crown these applications as the end all evaluator of one’s blog. However, even though they’re automated, I think they can reveal some things about your blog and your writing. Word clouds, for example, can reveal whether your stream of writing is following a theme. Perhaps your writing is too narrow – consistently writing about one thing, or overusing particular words or phrases. That makes you a weak writer. I would revel in the opportunity to realize and correct that folly.

    Admittedly, the man/woman judgement is mostly fun, but I think there is still value for any writer to have their writing evaluated both subjectively and objectively. I wouldn’t turn down the opportunity to wax prophetic over a tall can of brew with some buddies, but there is some value to using automatically generated means of evaluated your writing, too.

    So the submissive point to this entry was that one’s blog writing SHOULD be evaluated. If you’re content with the intent and content of your writing, so be it. But, I agree, you should ask yourself some of the questions you’ve posed. What IS your intent? What voice do you WANT to have? I value the opinion of an algorithm and I value the opinion of a friend. How is your writing coming across? How is it being perceived? If the answers to those questions are not consistent with your intent, then you must ADJUST your writing. All writing has an audience. Intent, alone, does not make something so. Your message is what your audience perceives it to be.

    Long comment short – yes, there is some value to using automated evaluators, strictly to gain insight. Will they tell you everything you want to know about your writing? No. Bloggers are people. Those who read blogs are people. No way of getting around this. It will always be about inter-personal relationships. But self awareness is also of incredible value – because if your intent does not meet your result, you can adjust.

  3. 3

    Mike said,

    I’m not convinced. My background is in creative writing and workshopping with people to make writing better. I’m not sure I’d ever plug a short story or an essay into some statistical analysis tool to see what it was about. I approach blog writing the same way.

    So BlogShop Reno? We spend 15 min per person critiquing blogs on Style, Content, Design and usability. Over beers…

    -M

  4. 4

    Mike McDowell said,

    I hear you, loud and clear. And I agree in the value of people and human feedback. However, I think that you are undervaluing the value of these services. Again – anyone would be a fool if they tried to evaluate their writing in a human void. That is NOT my suggestion. But the return on investment for using some automated tools as a PART of your evaluation is worthwhile. It takes only a few minutes and will give you some insight that you can learn from.

    There is value in knowing what words you’re using or overusing. There is value in knowing, based on the words you’re using and the way your sentences are structured, the type of general personality you are writing with. To trust the results 100% is foolish. To discredit them 100% is equally foolish. The same goes with human feedback.

    Mike, I appreciate you engaging in debate over this – I should make that clear, too. I think that one of the points that you make that is incredibly important for people to take notice of is the value of the human being. In the world of technology, and especially over an electronic medium like a blog or any other form of new media or digital media, it is easy to forget to include humans, or to remember that you are writing for humans. As a society, we run a legitimate risk of forgetting that. We run a risk of ignoring the humanity that has to exist.

    I have a background in writing, as well. Let’s grab some drinks sometime and debate the finer points of writing. Sounds great to me.


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