It (sort of) looks like a poem ...

If we look with the proper set of eyes, almost anything can appear to be poetry. The tag clouds popular on numerous social bookmarking sites often give the feel of being concrete poems. I readily admit that here as well, I'm not the first person to make this observation, though as opposed to spam poetry, few people, so far, seem to have noted this. What seems to be the main reference is from only about half a year ago.

Though at first glance there's certainly something almost poetic going on here (from flickr, for example),

all that we actually have is an alphabetized list of terms in various sizes. Sometimes the juxtaposition of certain terms can suggest poetry, or unintended meaning, but although the tag-list is more or less randomly generated (it results, after all, from a more or less random community of users) the information presented to us actually has too much meaning. What's more, taking away the alphabetation, which leaves us only with a list organized by popularity of tag use, is even less satisfying:

The two lists above are composed of the same "information" (from del-icio-us). The list on the left is organized alphabetically, with the size of each term determined by its "popularity". The list on the right is organized strictly by popularity, and thus the size of the terms is progressively smaller. To my mind, at least, though neither are particularly interesting as poetry, the list on the left invites us to study it, while that on the right doesn't.

Of course there are many who will claim that there isn't much of interest in concrete poetry either. They may well be right.

Go to: Letting it be, or
Go to: Spamming me softly with his song