Following President Barack Obama's 2012 State of the Union address, there's sure to be a lot of talk about the speech. But one thing is certainly incontrovertible: the words.
Word clouds are far from perfect in many ways. They don't get to the heart of the speech, or examine the text in a detailed manner. In many cases, they can detract from the message intended to be visualized.
One particularly pointed Nieman Lab article almost called for their outright abolition.
However, especially in the case of a speech, they can be used to look at words, and words alone. So what we've done, with the help of Wordle.net, is create three word clouds based solely on the text of the three State of the Union addresses delivered by Obama.
The color of the words has no correlation to their significance, and they're roughly arranged in alphabetical order from left to right in each case. These artistic representations merely depict how many times a word (the speeches have been filtered for common English words) was mentioned in the speech.
No solid conclusions beyond word use frequency can be made using these charts, but even that data on its own may have some bearing. For example, the prevalence of the word "jobs" in all three speeches shows that the issue hasn't faded from the president's message over the last three years.
Take a look at the diagrams below to see for yourself.