Friday, January 1, 2016

So you want to share you mind maps?

Another thought blog by Visual Mapper

So you want to share you mind maps?

Okay; do you really want to do that? Mind maps; those radiant formats some in education call spider graphs or charts. The education area actually does use mind mapping but alas they define it by those names, and in doing so have inadvertently or intentionally caused the mind mapping agenda to be diluted to spider graphs and charts.

I digress again of course; education isn't the focus here today.

Sharing mind maps is an anomaly to me. Since my work has me under certain conditions of NDA's, I am very restricted to what I would consider suitable for sharing via any mind mapping portals. I'm sure there's many who are in my position too, and it's a tad frustrating; isn't it?

Yes I've shared a few maps in the past at a specific map sharing portal; I believe they were relevant and generic enough to be of actual use to any who decided to download them. But alas I tend to use a map file format not included in the list of accepted file formats. That aside though, there's maps galore at that mind map sharing portal.

The rub for me? A high percentage of the maps shared by users of mapping software indicates their level of use of their particular software of choice and the content of the maps are IMO questionable as being relevant to a wider audience outwith the authors subjectivity contained within the maps.

You see; most large mind maps shared in general are like a plate of spaghetti to me. I look at them and think WT* these are all over the place and lack order and context. Yes I know; you're thinking, some of them are excellent and worth sharing, and I am agreeable with that thought.

The subjectivity thing comes into play with shared mind maps. Have you ever shared a mind map with a friend, colleague or client and they have that, deer in the headlights look, when they view it? It's as if you need to have a legend and a short training video attached in order for them to understand the map and how to navigate the contents.

Rudimentary maps are more easier to understand for sure, and in general first level maps (those with parents only) can be used/reused as templates: that's the objective side of map sharing.

When you go to a map sharing portal, there's maps galore and the file format war of dominance is evident. imindmap wins there and second place goes to Mindjet then I would attempt at the ConceptDraw file formats being number 3 (correct me if I'm wrong please). As an added thought; the Xmind format may actually eclipse all the others as being the most used file format to date.

At the date of this short blog; there's no function that allows the maps shared to be nothing other than glorified images or snapshots of maps, and this is due to the current inability to view stored maps that have attachments embedded into their graphical frameworks to be actually accessed and viewed via the portal. Yes that file format thing comes into play again eh?

I'm a Mind/Visual/Knowledge mapper, I really do understand the need to share what you have authored, and it's always an ego trip when sharing maps and having nice things said about them. Yet sharing maps remains an anomaly with the absence of a cloud database approach that allows the author to control the content of a map shared.

OH my: here's the final rub though.
After many hours of creating a business graphical framework, embedding tons of docs and attachments, creating a cloud link for non users to view my work; I am often asked to resend the whole package or upload the package in folders and files formats. Damn my audience doesn't want to or isn't even the slightest interested in looking at the my business knowledge processes in my beloved mapped format.

Is this familiar to you? Have you ever come across a friend, colleague, employee or client who simply puts their hand up and says “stop right there”; we don't use or support this kind of graphical approach.

Yeah it's happened to me on more than one occasion. So this is what I do before sharing data, information or knowledge with these groups: I use my own little approach called The T.A.P process and ultimately decide if my mapped format is what should be shared, or if I should consider a more conventional series of format presentations.

Now that word “conventional” is interesting, as it's been many years since Mr. Tony Buzan formalized Mind mapping, and to this day it's still absent from the mainstream and isn't deemed conventional.

But therein lies the power of the mapping format, IMO; the mind map is far superior to linear with regards to content, context and communication clarity (when authored with clarity in mind).

Share maps? Yes of course keep on doing it. At the least we create community and share maps with mappers. But let's not leave out the non mappers, let's have our mapped content available in non mapped formats too.

Is this a threat to mapping? Surely not all should mind map. What's your thoughts?

Time for you to blab now.

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