‘Word Cloud’ is a popular and convenient tool for text mining visualizations, which unmasks the most important words in topic context or corpus. Comparison word cloud offers a neat format of visualization when we want to compare several groups of text, the similarity and variance in terms of frequently appeared words.
For this project, a comparison word cloud is more suitable to uncover frequently used words in 4 different groups of forums: the eating disorders forums, the dieting forums, the general health related topics, and a ‘control group’ of forums containing topics from politics to pets. The reason of including a control group, is to validate our machine learning methodologies and to compare with the rest groups.
As it is expected, we observe words like ‘eat, food, binge, disorder, purge’ in ‘Eating Disorders group’, ‘weight, lose, calorie, keto, diet’ in ‘Dieting group’, and ‘gym, workout, muscle’ in ‘general health topics’ and ‘dog, trump, home, pet’ in the ‘Control group’.
An insight from this word cloud might be called out to the public reveals a misunderstanding of ‘Eating Disorders’. The public views eating disorders as a problematic behavior and even makes fun of this mental illness in some cases. People might have a stereotype against eating disorders sufferers that those sufferers just use inappropriate behaviors to lose weight or try to keep underweight, the only problem is their behaviors and their strange relationship with food.
However, the cloud shows us, eating disorders are much more than that. It effects people’s emotions, relationships and self-consciousness. If we take a close look at words popped up in the cloud, negative sensations are more dominating than other three groups. Words like ‘recover’, ‘life’, ‘help’, ‘relapse’ are not shown much in the other three groups.
The comparison word cloud above only contains primary words in each group after removing stop words in English. For more interesting insights, the word clouds for adjectives, verbs and nouns in those forums are also presented as follows.
The negative sensations in eating disorders forums are more obvious while feeding adjectives into word clouds.
Top nouns in eating disorders forums are food, weight, disorder and recovery, while in dieting forums the top words are calorie, pound, diet, goal.
Not surprising, ‘eat’ is key verb in eating disorders forums.