More than a year after I published the prioritization matrix post I had been toying with the idea of posting another useful tool of my trade applied in the context of anime blogging. Well, here it is! My example tackles Glass Mask, or Gurasu no Kamen, circa 2005.
I’m sure some of us have encountered the problem of organizing thoughts to write into a post. As in, why does xxx suck? Or, why is xxx so good? What is the real root cause of a bug???
Ok, so determining the root cause of software bugs might not be related to why an anime sucks or not. But the similarity is there: it lies in how you can organize your answer to the question of why. Or something like that.
The problem with plain text (or even spreadsheets)
Usually (that means me, it could apply to you too) when doing a post I just write the paragraphs according to the criteria that I listed somewhere. There are times though that I am inspired enough that the words just flow–but these are rare. Returning to software bugs, usually I have to answer certain questions to arrive at the root cause. However, with these two tasks, there is one limitation. You are bound to features of the text editor (or spreadsheet) that there is no appropriate space for your imagination to wander. You alone are responsible for organizing your own thoughts. Hence it limits your view/options. It has been said that the mind can handle 7 items at most at the same time. So there are limits to how many thoughts you can organize in your mind.
Solution? I propose mind maps/concept maps.
What are mind maps/concept maps
What are these? Let wikipedia answer:
A mind map is a diagram used to represent words, ideas, tasks, or other items linked to and arranged around a central key word or idea. Mind maps are used to generate, visualize, structure, and classify ideas, and as an aid to studying and organizing information, solving problems, making decisions, and writing.
The elements of a given mind map are arranged intuitively according to the importance of the concepts, and are classified into groupings, branches, or areas, with the goal of representing semantic or other connections between portions of information. Mind maps may also aid recall of existing memories.
By presenting ideas in a radial, graphical, non-linear manner, mind maps encourage a brainstorming approach to planning and organizational tasks. Though the branches of a mindmap represent hierarchical tree structures, their radial arrangement disrupts the prioritizing of concepts typically associated with hierarchies presented with more linear visual cues. This orientation towards brainstorming encourages users to enumerate and connect concepts without a tendency to begin within a particular conceptual framework.
The mind map can be contrasted with the similar idea of concept mapping. The former is based on radial hierarchies and tree structures denoting relationships with a central governing concept, whereas concept maps are based on connections between concepts in more diverse patterns.
I wanted to call my maps here as concept maps instead of mind maps because I will be making the maps using VUE. VUE is short for Visual Understanding Environment. Download it here. (I am using an older version 2.2.3.) But I think mind maps may be more appropriate in this case.
These mind maps are very useful in organizing information–in this case your thoughts/comments. Not only can you create the nodes to as far as your imagination (or patience for scrolling) allows, you can assign the nodes and text certain colors to make it more pleasing to the eyes. Or mix shapes for even better effect.
So here is my sample map, showing the things that I liked about Glass Mask. Glass Mask is the story of Maya Kitajima, a girl with a passion for acting. The anime starts when she was just a nobody doing her acting in a park, and ends with her audition for the lead role of the play The Scarlet Angel.
The main ordering ideas in light blue are my categories for reviewing a show. After finishing Glass Mask I was so awed by it. I just couldn’t describe the thoughts I had about the show because there were too many (in each episode). Maybe I should have blogged each episode but there just wasn’t time (or energy). But I do hope in the future I get so bored that I’d be re-watching this show. (Though it won’t be this year because of my New Year’s resolution regarding re-watches.)
You can also add other resources. I added some pics.
Currently I’m not using mind maps for blogging (though I do use it in RL, for personal and work issues). I hope others find this tool useful too. Ja!