Government taking public pulse via tag cloud

Tag clouds are a fun way to turn big chunks of text into a visual image. I’ve used them a few times on this blog, most recently with the last statements of executed prisoners, and we once created a cloud of the Governor General’s installation speech as art for A1 at the Citizen.

But, really, they’re more an amusement than anything else.

So I was stunned to see a tag cloud being used in a report prepared for the Privy Council Office — that’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s department — summarizing focus groups on the economy.

The report was prepared by Ipsos Reid.  The font choice makes me think the tag cloud was generated by

Here’s what Ipsos says about its tag cloud, presented to the PM’s officials:

In order to better ascertain perceptions as they related to Canada’s economy, participants were given a list of words and asked to identify those which in their opinion best described our economy at the present time. The figure below provides a graphic representation of words most often used.


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