I am aiming to get some flack for this, but I do not really get gushing over mind maps.
Wait a minute– I all for the power of sketching out ideas, of brainstorming on visually on paper, of thinking visually– see I do it for planning projects, web sites:
But to me, that is visual thinking, not mind maps, the stuff people crank out of software and web tools, the neat diagrams with text labeled boxes and ovals and lines.
I guess what I bristle at is the assumption that they are always useful– for everyone. I see them in people’s blog posts, especially mind maps of talks, and I glaze. It is ideal activity for the mindmap maker– but looking at the map on its own, I have no context. It is not my map, nor can I make it mine.
It is as good as getting someone else’s slides for a talk and not the talk. Just as I almost never sit through an archive of a webinar, I have never looked for more than 30 seconds at a mind map, before shrugging away.
It is like someone telling me I can understand their trip if they just toss me a map with the places they visited highlighted.
I crave the context. The story.
What I see is a mish mosh of boxes, texts and lines, yet I do not know what is important– as usually depicted, all content seems to have equal weight.
The 2 dimensionality could be a limiting factor too, it restricts what you can connect because of the available space. but I think a 3D mind map would make me even more queasy,
It’s not that I discount mind maps are useful tools for many people– just do not assume they are as meaningful for others.
So here is my challenge- I am ready to be criticized, to eat crow, to see the light, to scream mea culpa, but send me an example of a mind map that on its own can convey an understanding… If it changes my mind, I will eat cat food.