Many, many years ago Tony Buzan created the mind mapping system to help people capture lots of information in a brain friendly manner. He had studied the geniuses from the past and concluded that they all used a similar way to organize their information. Mr. Buzan created a system that involved both the left as well as the right brain side and called it mind mapping.
It is important to understand that at the moment mindmaps were ‘invented’, there were hardly any computers. There was not yet Windows or Mac OS. There were no graphical interfaces. People had to ‘feed’ information to a mainframe computer using carton or plastic cards. Mindmaps were created on paper and paper only.
Let’s skip forward about 20 years. We now have a computer with a graphical interface. It is possible to create a mindmap on your computer!
It took again almost 10 years (beginning of the new millennium) to have some tools which could produce decent mindmap. Tools like MindMapper and Mind Manager were used by a select group of people. These tools could create nice mindmaps, but never the like you created them on paper.
Then something interesting happened. People tried to create mindmaps on their computer that looked like hand-drawn mindmaps. This is something like asking an artist who can draw using paint or pencils and tell them to create a drawing using Photoshop. Yes, I know it is possible… but why?
Mindmaps on a computer should not be treated as… well… hand-drawn mindmaps. They are something completely different. Mindmaps on a computer are created to store and visualize large amounts of data, preferably stored on that computer, network or online. They are for many people the doorway to other information.
The computer mindmap itself is just an easy tool to visualize the complete picture. It should not be used as a hand drawn mindmap. Applications of these mindmaps include presentations, master mindmaps, note taking, brainstorming in a group, online collaboration, and planning.
As you probably know, the mindmap on paper is usually used for personal information over-viewing, like note taking, creative processes, remembering study materials, and yes… sometimes even grocery lists.
The usage of both types of maps is different. When you are mind mapping with others, most of the time a computer map is the best tool. When you are just on your own jotting down your notes or thoughts, a paper mindmap is a wonderful assistant.
Depending on the goal you are working on, the type of map changes. Paper and computer maps are very good tools, yet very different. Make sure you understand when to use which tool. This will save you a lot of time and increases your overview!