Have you ever created a word cloud? These are an excellent way to translate words into a visual tool that can be used in a variety of ways, such as for inspiration or to communicate ideas and concepts.
Recently I wrote a business book review on Ik.nl on the Zestee.com blog and one of the exercises which author Carlijn Postma suggested was to create your own personal word cloud. Mine is above. Here’s how you can go about creating yours.
1. Ask your friends to write a word or sentence about their impressions of you. I used a Facebook status to do this as below, but you could also ask friends face to face.
I’m reading a book about “me marketing” (in Dutch! Ik.nl) There is an exercise suggesting we ask people to write a word or sentence about their impressions of you. This helps form a sort of “word cloud”. I feel I have a clear idea of what I stand for, but am curious how this comes across online. This is interesting whether you know me well or not. If you are brave enough/have the time, please comment with one word (or a few) that come to mind in relation to my character, knowledge & interests. Be honest! (I guess getting no comments could also be interesting research!)
2. Wait for results! This can be a little nerve-racking…..
3. Thank your friends for their input!
4. Go to www.wordle.net (screenshot below)
5. Click on “create” and type in all the words your friends have given you. If one word has been offered more than once, type this the same number of times. These words will then be more prominent in your Word Cloud (so for me, driven, energetic and non-stop were all used twice and are larger, and the rest were once).
6. Click on “go” and ta-da! You have a Word Cloud! You can play around with the colours and layout. Save it (or take a screenshot) and use as you wish. I’m using mine as inspiration to check my online branding is consistent with who I think I am and how others perceive me!
For me, this whole exercise was a little nerve-racking but also very interesting and rewarding. I felt quite nervous posting on Facebook to ask friends what they thought of me. Of course, there, you usually get a positive reaction (if you have nice friends!)
Though I certainly identify with all the words they have chosen, they are not all ones I would have chosen for myself, so that gave me something to think about. Some know me really well personally including one friend who has known me since we were first penfriends about 25 years ago! Others have met me in a more professional sense. You can form your own word cloud too of all the words you feel that relate to who you are and what you stand for, and this was also a suggestion in the Ik.nl book.
Yes, it’s true that many people only see “parts” of your personality so this isn’t going to be a complete overview of you as a person. It’s also general human nature that asked directly, friends connected to you are much more likely to share positive than negative – but I feel many of us are already self-critical enough but could do with more of the encouragement aspect. I think we should make more of an effort to tell others the nice things we think about them without them asking! Overall, an interesting activity and I’d recommend giving it a try and it’s something you could do more than once and over time.
This free social media tip may not seem at first to be directly related to social media – however think about the underlying importance of how you come across online, this is a good way to better understand that and perhaps even have more control over it if you wish by being more alert when making status updates.
Have you ever created a word cloud? What are some of your key words that your friends would use to describe you?