First attempt at creating a graphical presentation of an online community map

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I am totally new to mindjet and excited to learn. My mission is to create a community map presenting many online communities, all interlinked, and demonstrating collaboration flows. Any advice on this welcome :)
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Claire

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Posted 6 years ago

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Alex Gooding, Champion

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This may be doable, but there are some inherent limitations in Mindjet and other mindmapping programs.

Generally speaking mindmaps are built around hierarchical "one-to-many" relationships where main topics and then subtopics branch out from a single central topic. What you describe sounds a bit like a "many-to-many" structure, where there is no central topic and any topic can be linked to any other topic.

This is generally described as concept mapping - Wikipedia provides good basic definitions to this and mind mapping if you want to read more. There are programs you can get for this, but bear in mind that you need to be very disciplined with concept mapping; try to include too much and there is an even greater chance of ending up with a "meatballs and spaghetti" mess than there is with mind maps.

However if you do want to stick with mind mapping and Mindjet, have a look at Biggerplate's free map library - http://www.biggerplate.com/ - there may be something there you can use as a guide. If there isn't, and without knowing too much about what you are trying to achieve, I would suggest something like the following:

1. Brainstorm the concept first using a mindmap. Don't use this process to build the proposed map itself, but rather to help you decide things like who the main audience is, what you are trying to achieve, how many communities you want to include, what sorts of collaboration flows, etc.

You can also use this process to determine the final map's paradigm - for example, do you structure the communities around areas of interest, or platforms, etc? The brainstorming process will also give you good practice at using Mindjet before you embark on the main map and will also provide a framework to guide you in this process.

2. Start to build the main map with a small subset of related online communities to test your proposed structure. Once you have this sorted out it will provide a pattern for the rest of the map.

3. Experiment with different ways of showing collaboration flows. The most obvious way is to use relationship lines and callouts which can be colour-coded. You could combine these with a set of markers for groups of related communities on different branches; you can then filter the map on the basis of these markers (the advantage of this approach is that each topic can have multiple markers) to show only these sets of related communities (or to exclude them, as the case may be).

Good luck with it!

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