How to use mind mapping software to build your Twitter relationships

Twitter mind map

Here’s a simple but powerful way to use mind mapping software to help you build more effective Twitter relationships.

Social media, as best-selling author and speaker Chris Brogan is fond of telling us, is all about building relationships – about bringing a human element to business. If we can connect as people and build trust, then we can more easily understand others’ needs and serve them better.

Twitter is a great place to build a network of people who share common interests, to help each other find answers to pressing questions, commiserate or simply chat about life. So when I read Susan Percy’s entry in my “amazing mind mapping stories” initiative, I was blown away by her simple but profound application of mind mapping software:

Susan has used MindManager to create a mind map of the people she wants to keep track of on Twitter, along with details about what their interests are and what’s going on in their lives – ideal fodder for chatting with them. Here’s how it works, in her words:

“I write the name of the person on a branch and hyperlink that branch to the person’s Twitter page. I create main branches to organize the users by groups, for example: clients, prospects, friends. I create sub-branches from each user to add information about them, such as “likes sushi.” This helps me to easily organize who I want to stay in touch with and also information about subjects which to chat.”

Above is my attempt to re-create this concept with some of the key people I follow on Twitter (please click on the image to view an expanded version of this map with clickable links to each person and Twitter account).

Twitter mind mapAt right is a close-up of one branch, where I have added details about several of them. These sub-branches are the key to this map’s value, because they help us to build more valuable relationships and greater trust. If you can refer to this “mini-dossier” when you’re chatting with someone on Twitter, doesn’t it make sense that your actions will create a higher level of trust? You cared enough to remember something about that person, and they will undoubtedly appreciate you for that.

Thanks for sharing this brilliant idea, Susan!



  1. says

    Dear Chuck (and Susan):
    What a spectacularly on-target idea.

    Like many of your ideas, it is simple to implement and live with, but can pay great dividends.

    Thanks for sharing!

    BTW, did you consider (and reject) the idea of listing names last-name first, so you could Format>Sort the names in each category, so they will appear alphabetically by last name?


  2. says

    Hello Chuck

    The idea is very elegant, and one that I’m sure a lot of sales folk have tried too – not to keep track of twitterers (which I suspect something like Tweetdeck is a little more practical for) but particularly for sales prospects. I wonder whether anyone has tried linking a mind mapping product with a sales tracking product like ACT! – it would be an interesting development.

    But the REALLY impressive thing in your blog is that superbly integrated Mind Map within the blog entry. Have you written about doing this in previous entries? If so, I’d love to see the link.

    Keep up the good work.
    Best wishes

  3. says

    Hey Chuck,

    It’s a great idea, I’ve been using Freemind for some time and noticed the hyperlink functionality and now I think I’ll give it a go. I have so many projects online, which integrate with Twitter and some projects which maybe I forget about. This is a great way of organizing my online business. I’ll let you know how it goes.



  4. says

    OK – so I was already a fan of you both, now you just gave me even more reason to stay tuned. This is a great application for mindmapping. Susan – I love the way you think! Chuck – always an inspiration! Thanks for sharing such a practical example. Did you see Scott Stratten’s (@unmarketing) mindmap to organise his thoughts for his very soon to be released Unbook Supreme!

  5. says

    Relationship management is the application where I find mind mapping the most useful, probably because I am in a professional services business and highly dependent on networking. I organize my Mindmap by account, and within that, branch to Stakeholders, Incumbents, and Why. Stakeholders further branches to Decision Makers and Influencers which if used hierarchically shows reporting relationships. Incumbents describes all others having some incumbency in an account. And the Why, is why they might consider using my service. Hyperlinks exist at each node – at the company level that is to Yahoo Finance. At the individual level, that is to LinkedIn. Works great, especially if you're in a long sales cycle. I tried using (free) Microsoft Business Contact Mgr and abandoned it in favor of a mind map. HTH.


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