Here are my results for the tools I explored for class discussion last wednesday:
For my first tool, I used Google Ngram, as pictured above. I chose the word “cyberspace”, because I wanted to see how Gibson’s use of the term may have influenced its’ use in literature. I had initially expected the word to be used more consistently during the 80’s, due to the popularity of Neuromancer and his subsequent cyberpunk novels, but the use of the term actually declined after 1984 until the 1990’s. It wasn’t until the late 1990’s that there was a sharp upward trend in its’ use, peaking in the year 2000. My speculation for this is the internet and what it entailed did not become widely-discussed in the U.S. until the Y2K scare – it created a frenzy that seems to coincide with increased usage of “cyberspace”. Interestingly enough, after the threat of Y2k passed, there was a sharp decline in the use of “cyberspace” shortly after.
The second tool I explored was Wordle (http://www.wordle.net/). I inserted text from Neuromancer – more specifically, a quote defining “cyberspace” – into the program, and this was the end result ( I did change the colors to reflect my personal color preferences, haha). Although sometimes the word clouds created take on a shape relevant to the text it brings to life, mine was amorphous, which I thought was kind of interesting.