Just today, I read yet another conversation in a bulletin board about the merits (or otherwise) of "mind mapping software" versus Buzan's "Mind Mapping®". As always, there were supporters on both "sides", the Mind Mapping® fans preferring the immediacy and creativity of hand-drawn maps to the sterile, slow and technology-dependent world of software. Who could disagree?
To me this seems like unconditionally declaring whether you prefer to walk or drive. If you are going to the local shop for a loaf of bread, walking is the healthy option. If you are visiting somewhere sixty miles away, walking is unlikely to be a serious contender, regardless of your preferences. So some preferences should be conditional to avoid being dogmas.
I prefer to draw Mind Maps® by hand, but I prefer "mind mapping" software if I want to draw something that needs to be shared and frequently updated and revised. Only those who (understandably) mistake mind mapping software as a tool for drawing Mind Maps® might declare an unconditional preference. There are a few software packages that aim to recreate Mind Maps®, but they are outnumbered by tools that simply aim to provide fast and easy graphical organisation of information.
Unfortunately the industry seems to be stuck with the term "mind mapping software" because that is where most of these tools originated from, and there is no other category that is as clearly recognised by the reviewers or potential users. But this does a disservice to both techniques, by
- implying that a Mind Map® is merely a tree,
- implying that a tree-shaped diagram must be a Mind Map®, and
- inviting misleading comparisons between Mind Mapping® and mind mapping software.
For this reason, I am changing the name of my Blog from "Beyond Crayons" to "Beyond Mind Mapping", to make it clearer that the use of mind mapping software is quite distinct from Mind Mapping®. Not better, not worse, but designed to do different things.