The Blog of Babel

This site sits on the crossroads of Languages, Linguistics, Social Media Market Engagement, Marketing Strategy, Innovation Strategy, Creativity Theory, Ancient Mythology & Egyptology. Its a very small crossroads in the middle of cyberspace - so stay for a while - pull up a chair and coffee. 


invisibly it bends around us,
curling, snaking and coniving
like a virus spread between us
always growing, mophing, changing
slowly it unfurls a path before us
an eternal chanting chorus

easily it consumes gigantic objects,
Jaggurants, titanics and the sun
outpacing the fastest and the furthest
it arrives before we’ve begun
nimbly tackling the complex and small
there is no space in which it cannot crawl

Yet it does not exist beyond its use
its advance is dictated by the tongue
for all its vigor, it must be set loose
it does not exist unless the song is song

Obama’s State of the Union – A Linguistic Window Into His Strategy & Mindset

Using a linguistic analysis tool called LIWC, I have attempted to pull back the veil of the president’s diction and take a glance in-between the words. After analyzing his SOTU against his previous 4 SOTU’s, key patterns emerged from the data. These numerical nuggets each told a story of the president’s speech, his strategy, his commitment and his frustration.

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Art Installations

From my own experience with art installations I find that they are some of the most powerful displays of artistic talent and can evoke strong emotions within people. This is perhaps because of their grandeur or the fact that they can sometimes engage multiple senses at once. I have been planning  my own version of a linguistic art installation for a long time, which would draw from several linguistic theories. Although I cannot be employed as an art installationist (wait, is that possible?!?), I feel that such expressions of thought are the best ways to really wake people up or make them suddenly aware of a revolutionary movement or idea. I would love to explain to you in my next post about my installation concepts and what I plan to create! Creation is by far the most amazing feeling! But for now, just click the link below and enjoy these amazing pieces of art. I'll explain my ideas later.

Inspirational Art Installations


50 Tweets = Ability to Scientifically Predict Personality and Buying Behavior.

I will be saying this till I'm blue in the face - linguistics is a great tool to impact marketing, branding and segmentation. What you say - more specifically how you say it, describes a lot about your own personality. This article I found suggests that just by capturing 50 tweets companies can analyze and predict what products or services you are more likely to buy.  

But how? Let me describe a little bit of the science behind tweet psychology

"The quick foxed jumped over the mean lazy brown dog."

Ok. Now, you ready? This is going to be very, very, very hard. Pay attention. Please keep reading this sentence a bit, maybe this word "Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis" - I just need you to get further down this paragraph so you can't see the first sentence. GOOD - Don't look up! Now, how many non-verb/subject/adv/adj words were in the sentence about the fox from above. If you said 3, you're a super-freak - No, JK, you are normal however the point of this exercise is to demonstrate the transient nature of pronouns (and all other words that aren't verbs, adjs, advs or nouns for that matter).  Your brain is programmed to strip away this non-essential information like meat from a bone. Pronouns and all of these filler words (because, that, we, up, therefore, she, besides, however) are parsed out of normal conversation and forgotten. Your brain remembers the: Who, What, Where, When and Why - the meat. 


When in doubt, follow the crazy people

Pronouns and Nouns/Verbs/Adj/etc are filed in two completely different sections of the brain. One way to prove this is to study the effects of brain damage and speech. There are actually two different types of studied medical injuries that are a result of brain damage in two separate parts of the brain - the two injuries would speak thusly: 

You know, that stuff where those things move up and down and even though things come out
— Patient Bud Abbott
Mary knows keyboard keys help people print documents
— Patient Lou Costello

You'll notice that Bud Abbot has a hard time using anything but "filler words" (pronouns, prepositions) while Lou Costello  can't seem to find one single filler word - he only uses proper names and verbs. This is because Bud Abbot has received damage to the Nouns/Verbs/Adj/etc processing center of his brain while Lou Costello has received damage to his filler "social words" processing center.  

Twitter pronouns are key to marketing

So, now we agree that filler words, compared to nouns and verbs, are contained in different boxes in the mind? Would it surprise you to hear that pronouns and fillers are kept in the very front, youngest part of the brain - the "social" box? (which makes sense as they are social referents). Nope? Moving right along, how you use these social referents tells us a lot about how you live in a social world. For example, do you use the "I" pronoun more than the "we" pronoun? DID YOU KNOW - men use the pronoun "I" slightly more often then women, while women use the pronouns "You /He/She" slightly more often than men.

So users that tweet "s/he" more often and use causal words (because, cause, on account of) are more likely to be rational, logical, social thinkers - who would obviously gravitate to a certain kind of product or experience. Now the game is over. BAM, once the company has you profiled they can market to you more effectively.

Research has already shown that these traits link to buying behaviour. Agreeable people prefer Pepsi to Coke and if you link your product messages to excitement and adventure, it will appeal to the extroverts.
All well and good, but how can brands find out the psychological profiles of their potential customers? After all, no-one is going to go through a long personality test to give marketers the information they need to harass them.
The answer is via social media, specifically Twitter. IBM’s research has used software to analyse three months data from 90m Twitter users, matching the words people use against their values and needs. It took just 50 tweets to get a reasonable match for their personality and a very good fit from 200.