I just heard a radio interview with James W. Pennebaker, the writer of The Secret Life of Pronouns, and immediately, before even putting my groceries away, went to the website for his book to look at the various tests he offers.
I found virtually every statement he made to miss the mark as far as determining what our use of language, as analyzed in computer terms, says about us and how we communicate. There are a bunch of tests on his website, and I took the one that required the least amount of time. The test analyzes a chunk of text written by two people, and then determines the quality of the relationship that those two people have based on the compatibility of their language style. I put a chunk of text from this blog (to represent me, of course), and a chunk of text from my husband's blog into the analyzer, and the computer determined that we had little in common language-wise. Then I put the same chunk of text from my blog in with a different chunk of text from his blog, and the computer determined that we had a great deal in common language-wise.
I became skeptical when Pennebaker used a double "is" ("The thing is is . . ") multiple times in the course of his interview. Someone who does that repeatedly can not be very self aware when he speaks.
I just compared this blog post (minus this paragraph) with some prose from Pennebaker's website, and the computer analyzed it as .77 (the average is .68). Then I compared it to one of Michael's blog post. The computer gave that .81. Four points difference between me and a person I just heard speak on the radio, and me and my husband of nearly 27 years? I think that this method of analysis needs some serious work.
Now I'll put my groceries away.