Article Summaries and Word Clouds: Comparing Texts

We got some great comments and suggestions following those word cloud postings. Thank you, Lois, Pablo, Magda, Domen and Bob. If you, Gentle BlogReader and Devoted Brandthroposophist, are interested in this topic, you may want to check out these comments for some excellent sites, software, and truly fascinating (and very *kewl,* too….) things that people are doing with word clouds.

I was continuing my curious curiousity, investigating to see how we might be able to get a textual snapshop, a visual-verbal comparison of comparable texts if the texts were articles (not, as before, inauguration speeches)? So just for fun, I plugged in three of my more well-known articles. Those articles are the one on online communities I wrote for the European Management Journal, the one I wrote about netnography for the Journal of Marketing Research, and the one I wrote about Burning Man for the Journal of Consumer Research.

Let’s look at the abstracts of the articles first. If you are interested in digging further into these and don’t have access, I also provide the citation and a link to a pdf copy of the article so that you can read it.

  • Kozinets, Robert V. (1999), “E-Tribalized Marketing? The Strategic Implications of Virtual Communities of Consumption,” European Management Journal, 17 (3), 252-264. I’ve already linked to this one from this prior posting.
    • Abstract: On the Internet, virtual communities structured around consumer interests have been growing rapidly. To be effective in this new environment, managers must consider the strategic implications of the existence of different types of both virtual community and community participation. Contrasted with database-driven relationship marketing, marketers seeking success with consumers in virtual communities should consider that that they: (1) are more active and discerning; (2) are less accessible to one-one-one processes, and (3) provide a wealth of valuable cultural information. Strategies for effectively targeting more desirable types of virtual communities and types of community members include: interaction-based segmentation, fragmentation-based segmentation, co-opting communities, paying-for-attention, and building networks by giving products away.
  • Kozinets, Robert V. (2002), “The Field Behind the Screen: Using Netnography for Marketing Research in Online Communities,” Journal of Marketing Research, 39 (February), 61-72.
    • Abstract: This article develops netnography as an online marketing research technique for providing consumer insight. Netnography is market-oriented ethnography conducted on virtual communities dedicated to marketing-relevant topics. As a method, netnography is faster, simpler, and less expensive than ethnography, and more naturalistic and unobtrusive than focus groups or interviews. It provides information on the symbolism, meanings, and consumption patterns of online consumer groups. Guidelines are provided that acknowledge the online environment, respect the inherent flexibility and openness of ethnography, and provide rigor and ethics in the conduct of marketing research. As an illustrative example, a netnography of an online coffee newsgroup is provided and its marketing implications discussed.
  • Kozinets, Robert V. (2002), “Can Consumers Escape the Market? Emancipatory Illuminations from Burning Man,” Journal of Consumer Research, 29 (June), 20-38.
    • Abstract: This ethnography explores the emancipatory dynamics of the Burning Man project, a one-week long anti-market event. Practices used at Burning Man to distance consumers from the market include discourses supporting communality and disparaging market logics, alternative exchange practices, and positioning consumption as self-expressive art. Findings reveal several communal practices that distance consumption from broader rhetorics of efficiency and rationality. Although Burning Man’s participants materially support the market, they successfully construct a temporary hypercommunity from which to practice divergent social logics. Escape from the market, if possible at all, must be conceived of as similarly temporary and local.

And here are are word clouds:

e-tribalized cloud

I think it’s pretty easy at a glance to tell which article is which.

Is this proof of ‘face validity’? Cloud validity?

Field cloud

Which one could that be?

burning cloud

Now, these are all solo-authored pieces that I wrote while I was an assistant professor at Northwestern University in Chicago. You would think that my style wouldn’t change that much between them. The different journals and their editorial stances and policies, even their copy-editors, of course, would have an impact on the word choices. I know that EMJ kept my dradt mainly intact, without adding or taking away very much at all. With the netnography article for JMR, there were a lot of “helpful” ‘suggestions’ by reviewers (I think I will post about the process for this article soon), and in the end they insisted that I put the word “netnography” in quotes throughout the entire article, which seemed pretty intrusive to me (I’m surprised those quotation marks aren’t the biggest things in the word cloud!). The key seems to be in the topic matter, which was quite different, and those nouns, that topical content, does seem to be what “floats to the top” with this method.

Playing and thinking with these word clouds has been interesting and it’s delightful visual fun, too. It’s cool that you can almost see my “research stream” and focal theoretical concerns–community, culture, social, consumption– in the common words among the three clouds. The differences come out, too–emancipation, marketing, research, relationship. I wish I’d had this insight (and the tool that brought it) when I was struggling to write my research statement.

I welcome your analyses of these article clouds. Bring em on. Are there silver linings, or even ‘golden nuggets,’ in these clouds, do you think? Or are we just ‘cloud-gazing’?

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