Southern Strategy Group, one of the state’s leading lobbying shop, has developed another social media offering — a unique resource to allow information junkies to get a fix on Florida’s political pulse — the SSG Word Cloud.
The Word Cloud offers users a snapshot of breaking opinion on where lawmakers and other leaders stand on hot-button issues in both Florida, Washington D.C. and nationwide.
Known in visual design as a weighted list, word clouds use text for a representation of keyword metadata (or tags) found on websites, online, or as a way to present free-form text.
Often the tags are single or small group of words, with font size and color varying based on importance or frequency. Designers use this format to identify the most prominent terms quickly. When used on a website, they are generally navigation aids, where tags are hyperlinked to send visitors to other pages.
To create the SSG Word Cloud, Southern Strategy employs groundbreaking new technology developed by Alex Gage of the social media consulting firm two.42.solutions. Gage’s algorithm crawls through social media sites and news stories on the web; extracting and weighing the most commonly used words on any given subject.
The app then visually renders the resulting data in a word cloud.
Words in the cloud are weighted and categorized by frequency, sized and assigned a color by the context in which they are used — words applied in a positive manner are blue, negative are red and neutral are shown as beige.
As an example, SSG searched “Florida budget” during the time Gov. Rick Scott was reviewing the record $77 billion Florida budget. The two.42.solutions crawler recovered thousands of “hits,” from bloggers, news reporters, and public officials on the subject.
“Light vetoes predicted” turned up 1,679 times — becoming an accurate predictor of what actually happened. Scott only vetoed $68.9 million in the 2014-2015 budget.
Word Clouds, along with the popular SSG infographics, use visualized data as a powerful tool, allowing users to grasp quickly the flow of online discourse on important political issues and personalities, concerning Florida and beyond.
As part of the rollout of the SSG Word Cloud project, Southern Strategy will provide two SSG word clouds each week on a broad range of topics, posted on Twitter and emailed to friends and supporters.
Southern Strategy Group is also asking for suggestions on subjects to be used in future word clouds.