Thursday, July 22, 2010

Who do I write like? Who do I speak like?

Figuring out who has influenced us is both interesting and fun. I Write Like is a web site with software that classifies text and matches it with one of fifty well-known authors. If you cut and paste a sample of your writing into a box, it will tell you who it thinks that you write like.

When I tried putting in the text from my recent blog posts, it told me that I mostly write like David Foster Wallace, a novelist who I do not remember ever reading. Here are five other people I supposedly write like, and the dates of the blog posts:

Dan Brown: June 11th, July 3rd
William Gibson: June 1st
James Joyce: July 2nd
Ursula K. Le Guin: July 12th
Kurt Vonnegut: June 5th

I heard about the web site in a blog post by Karen Blakeman, who also found that she writes mostly like Mr. Wallace. Guy Kawasaki also mentioned it, and linked to an interview with the author.

It probably is only a matter of time before there is similar software that would classify video and tell us who we speak like, including our body language. We could hope that we resemble famous speakers like:

Winston Churchill
Steve Jobs
Barrack Obama
Ronald Reagan
Tony Robbins

Unfortunately, we also might resemble other characters we have seen on television like:

Barney Fife
Matt Foley
Peter Griffin
Reverend Timothy Lovejoy
Yosemite Sam

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