They Call It Culturomics

While doing research today for my day job I found myself trapped in the google information black hole known as Ngram. After doing my legit work for like, oh, a minute or two, I found myself shoving other words into Ngram.

In case you are not familiar with Ngram, it is phrase-usage graphing tool developed by Google. Google digitized over 5 million books from the 1800’s to 2000’s. You can search their database of books for various phrases used in those books over a time period. In doing so, you find some fascinating (okay, maybe nerdy) relationships between word usage, emotional response and other events in the 20th century. (Yes, this kind of stuff excites me, perhaps overly so).

For a better explanation of this goodie, watch the TedTalk . For immediate viewing pleasure check out this little ditty. Draw your own conclusions.  Better yet, go play yourself.  Type in your own words or phrases to see how usage frequency has been changing. I warn you it can be addictive.

 

Click image for larger version.

Click image for larger version.