As part of my process of monitoring what’s going on in the Twitterverse, I have two Twitter searches that I monitor regularly, which help me to keep my finger on the pulse of what people are saying about mind mapping. One is the word mindmap, and the other, “mind map.”
One trend that I’ve noticed that makes me very unhappy is the growing tendency of “get rich quick” product authors who promise in their tweets to include a mind map as part of their latest information products. They encourage their fans to promote their products on Twitter as well, leading to multiple tweets of “I’m currently reading Sam Suave’s Mind Map Your Way to Superstardom e-book” – which gets really annoying after a while.
Here are several recent examples of what I’m talking about and what I dislike about their approach:
A private label rights (PLR) vendor who promises that you can make tons of money launching a website that contains nothing but a set of pre-written articles that you have the rights to republish. It includes a “mind map” – a flow chart, actually, that visually depicts how to launch your own money-making PLR website. Sounds like a scam that will sooner or later get you slapped – hard – by Google.
The Affiliate Profit Plan, which aims to help you “start making real money with affiliate marketing.” It also includes a mind map to help you implement its money-making strategies. Affiliate marketing, when done properly and ethically, is actually a good thing. But all too often people use it to try to make a fortune online. Little do they realize how hard it is to attract the volume of traffic to their new “profit magnet” website that they would actually need to make the amount of money that is promised by programs like these.
The worst offender, in my opinion, is the Mindmap to Riches program, which breathlessly promises that it will teach you “How to Achieve Your Goals & Ambitions Using Simple Strategies In Your Day to Day Life For Lasting and Sustainable Health, Wealth, Happiness & Success!” There’s only one problem: There’s not a single mind map in the entire report, nor do any of the author’s strategies for reaching one’s goals include visual mapping of any kind. To be fair, there is a single-page PDF summary included in this information product. But it appears to be an afterthought, not a core part of the product. Does that give it a veneer of respectability? I don’t think so. Clearly, the name of the report is misleading.
Why the sudden interest in including mind maps in these questionable internet marketing products? It seems to help differentiate their products, by offering some sort of magical quality.
“Ooooh, I see it includes a mind map. Then I KNOW I can be wildly successful with this product!”
The other, more likely, possibility is that these guys are watching what internet business gurus like Rich Schefren are doing (he sells an eMarketing Maps program that contains a set of well thought-out process maps for streamlining your business) and imitating them. But something is getting lost in the translation. In Rich’s case, he’s adding real value by depicting optimum business processes visually. But visual mapping tools can be just as easily used to create illustrations that add little or no value to the information products they accompany, or to mislead people into buying these products in the first place.
The market for online strategy reports and information products is very crowded; when anyone can produce and sell a PDF report for $29, that can be both a good thing and a bad thing. A mind map won’t rescue a half-baked collection of ideas and strategies that the author has cobbled together. Nor does a mind map necessarily make the content of these programs any more understandable. But it does make them “different” – and, perhaps in the minds of some prospective customers, better.
Mind maps are not a panacea. Thy won’t help you to make tons of money overnight, lose weight, cure cancer or help you to find a partner for life. It doesn’t help that the roots of mind mapping are somewhat connected with self-help and self-actualization, which lends it a somewhat mystical quality.
A mind map is a tool. Nothing more, nothing less. If you’re going to offer a mind map as part of your information product, make it something of substance, not just nearly useless window dressing.
I know I’m probably going to piss off some people with this post, but that’s the way it goes. I think these people are giving mind mapping a bad name through the power of association. I wish they’d stop!