A Year of Presidency, in Words


As Billy Fitzjohn leaves office, perhaps it is a time to look back on his Presidency. For this, I have taken a look at his past blogs on the SUSU website, and created a Wordle out of the results.

There are many things we can look at from this wordcloud that allows us to take a closer look at Billy’s tenure. The most common terms refer to one of the biggest themes that have ran throughout the past year in SUSU politics – the overhaul of the student leader and sabbatical system. It is no surprise to see such terms as “officer”, “exec”, “leaders” and “sabbaticals” come up so frequently in his blogs. Much of the middle term this year was taken up with the changes to Union hierachy, and Billy posted several blogs regarding the changes.

The cloud also shows Billy’s desire to leave a legacy from his year in charge. “Make” appears in the clouds, as does “co-ordinate”, “ensure” and “represent”.

What is noticeable is the relative lack of some specific terms which might explain why some students do not understand the full workings of the union. “UMB” – or Union Managment Board – hardly appears in Billy’s blogs, yet it is the senoir management board of SUSU, which you might have expected to be dropped into conversation a little more than it has. Compared to the possible over-use of the word “Council” (as in Union Council), perhaps there was an opportunity to use the blog a little more to explore other parts of the Union.

There is also a heavy bias towards Union politics in Billy’s blogs over “interests” and “activities”. While this fits Billy’s role as President, it possibly shows a lack of engagement with students who were involved with the social aspects of SUSU, rather than the political aspects. “Proposal” and “policy” sneak into his rhetoric more often than not.

Given the sheer quantity of elections over the year, it is surprising that “elections” does not make more of an impression in the word cloud.

Compare this to a wordle based on the first blog from new Union president Sam Ling:

Sam seems to share the same desire to be a pro-active, hands on president as Billy – “become”, “tirelessly”, “achieve”. We can also expect to hear the sabbatical’s being referred to as a “team” in the future, looking at his first blog.

Interestingly enough, “SUSU” is not a term often used by either.

Have a look at the images more closely and see if you can spot any interesting trends or comparisions.



Discussion5 Comments

  1. avatar

    Only just noticed this article Jamie, quite interesting! I’m surpised words relating to the changing nature of Higher Education are not bigger in the world cloud, although I Imagine a world cloud from Rob would tackle that.

    In regards to not having much on the social aspect of the Union in the word cloud and very political words coming from the blog, I believe this is probably due to the purpose and nature of my blogs from the start. I mainly used my blog as a communication and information tool, whilst also creating a space for people to share ideas and give me suggestions. I think we used other avenues to engage people socially with the Union and not many people would go seeking to read someones blog to find out where was the best place to eat or party on campus.

    Anyway, interesting read, it would be cool for another comparison perhaps when Sam or other officers write more blogs next year. Although I do think they will use videos more often this year, which is definitely better!

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