Tuesday, September 19, 2006

A New Season, A New Look

Maybe I've been living in Southern California for too long, but I thought it was time for a face lift. I'm hoping this is just an interim look. There are a few other features that I would love to add to the blog, but that's going to take a little more time and some tools I haven't found yet.

I'm interested in creating a collaborative mind map online. You may be familiar with the type of graphic organizers called word webs, in which you write down the subject of your brainstorm or classification in a circle in the center of a piece of paper. From there you branch outward, recording words and ideas related to the original subject. This process continues with more and more details, until you have what looks like a three-dimensional molecular model. There are computer programs designed to create mind maps that you can download for free, and there may be an application out there that would allow you to create one interactively with other people online.

The average blog is still very linear. It is basically an electronic version of a newspaper or a book. Hypertext links obviously add another level of depth, but you're still going from one page to another. What I'm envisioning is something more along the lines of this: Someone draws a word on a chalkboard. Another person writes down what first comes to mind (maybe an anecdote, a fact, or a question) on a sticky note, walks up to the chalkboard, and sticks it next to the word. And another person draws a picture and tapes it up next to the sticky note. Someone else may be moved to create a sculpture, write a song, or knit a sweater. I am an extremely visual person, and I get tired of the whole directory/file cabinet approach to organizing data with computers.

If anyone knows of anything or uncovers anything that is remotely close to what I'm attempting to describe, please let me know. If I sound like a crazy person, well, that's probably because I am.

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