What I couldn't figure out is why. Hello, welcome to fourth grade brainstorming. Write a word in a bubble in the middle of your page and draw branches coming off of it with other concepts, words and phrases. Nothing new to see here, folks. This visual way of taking notes has been around for a long time.
So I tried it today using an online tool called MindMeister. Other popular online mind mapping tools include Mindomo and Bubbl.us, but MindMeister seems to be able to create most visually appealing map of these three options. As it turns out, there are dozens of other mapping tools available, either free or for sale.
Was I blown away? No, not really. It's exactly what I thought it would be. In fact, I found it annoying that you could only see portions, not the whole map, at any given time. But here are some pluses about online mind mapping tools that I did identify:
- You can drag and drop words and phrases to reorganize your map, which you can't do the old-fashioned way.
- You can add images and icons to your map, making things more visually interesting.
- If you have an iPad or iPhone you can make maps with the MindMeister application. I'm thinking this is one of the main reasons why this technique is trending.
- Perhaps the coolest feature and what makes mind mapping relevant again: You can work on collaborative mind maps with other people and track the changes. You can also check out other people's public mind maps and see what people are working on.
There are also some really beautiful mind maps out there that make lovely infographics, such as those I came across by Paul Foreman on Mind Map Inspiration. Paul's site says that he offers mind maps for inspiration, mindmapping and drawing tips, as well as techniques for enhancing creativity and idea generation. These mind maps are little works of art!