• Blogging September 11; Transforming Personal Expressions Into Data Visualization in Wordle and Tagxedo

      Lata, Andrzej (2012-05-01)
      September 11, 2001 is one of the most recognizable dates in world's modern history. Much has been said, published and reported about the tragic events and more may still be revealed and understood about that unforgettable day. So much information has been collected about September 11th, and many have studied and analyzed this information. Many educational, governmental and other organizations and institutions have worked and contributed toward a better understanding of the events of that tragic day. Under the guidance and leadership of Professor Steven Schneider, teachers and students of SUNY IT had an opportunity to participate in several projects directed towards a deepening understanding and reflection upon 9/11. I had the opportunity to participate in two of these projects during the Spring and Summer of 2011. My participation sparked my choice of a topic for my final project. I investigated content of blog entries posted immediately after the terrorist acts of September 11th, 2001. the research questions I sought to answer were centered on the personal expression of bloggers; What did they write about? How can this data be captured and analyzed? How can the researcher best present this data and findings? Analyzing blog content, identifying key words and transferring text of blogs into images called word clouds. is the solution I have modeled. The project was finalized by creating 42 word clouds, 21 in Wordle and the same number in Tagxedo, both are word cloud generation software. Sifting through the blogs and examining data in different forms enriched my understanding of the variation in the personal expression of the bloggers and helped me to see what they reported and contributed in a totally new light. There are still many questions to be answered about personal expression of people who reported their stories on the Internet in September, 2001 and many more projects and studies that could contribute much more towards understanding of content of 9/11. My hope is that the findings rand methodology reported here will add a small piece in understanding of what happened in September, 2001.