Personally, I'm a very visual thinker, but even so I can't quite see what all the fuss is about mind mapping.
Maybe it's the double-edged sword of implementation. Creating a mind map in software seems like a process that's too difficult to me. I can't create the map nearly as quickly as a I can think/type, and I find I get bogged down in formatting, moving things around, etc. I wind up getting distracted from the ideas by the need to create/maintain the structure.
This is why I come down hard on most mindmapping programs and prefer Compendium (yes, that program again!) despite it not being a mindmapping program.
You see, even though I'm not an expert (and haven't read Buzan's book), IMHO all the mindmapping programs I've seen aren't really mindmapping programs in the strict sense but either limited diagram programs or fishboning.
Fishboning programs are similar to Freemind and Mindmanager and most online mindmapping services in that they're really just a bunch of fishbones stacked side by side. Think of it as pretty much a limited dual sided tree style program without the notetaker. In fact, that's why Mindmanager integrated it besides the program: It was a flawed style because the concept has been hijacked by a more general sales term for "mindmaps" used as an organizer without addressing the fundamental flaw of the model. (except for formatting and search but that's not as good as paper skimming)
Limited diagram programs are similar to XMind, ConceptDraw Mindmap and Sciral Flying Logic. These are really diagram programs no different from drawing circles in Paint but cut down in image editing features and slapped with an organizer gui. These have the same problems as fishboning programs but with the opposite problem: instead of the text, you are slowed down because you have to focus on the shape and while the original mindmapping concept involved drawing, it worked because drawing by hand is freeform while using a mouse to draw is not and anyone with a tablet pc who wants to mindmap is going to have a faster input in Paint than with these programs.
None of these are mindmap programs because IMO for me, mindmap works through a flawed idea of image by association. This means, if you put a text below another text while writing, your mind remembers it...and at the same time, your mind remembers the end product because the shape is something you drew.
This doesn't work with these programs because when you use them, the mind remembers either insert-delete-delete-insert or click-drag, click-drag because most of these programs are WYSIWYG. Something most right brained dominant people have problems with. Instead they either are good with freeform so instead these programs require luck that the user will buy into the free-formed idea of the program and try to trick their minds into using it; or a program requires an easier enough set-up of WYSIWYM (What you see is what you mean) and even then it's still a less effective mindmapping program than a paper based one.
On the other hand, if done on paper, the lack of editability seems like a weakness. Put a concept or two in the wrong place, and your whole map could turn to incomprehensible spaghetti.
That is because my guess is that while Buzan "standardized" the form of mindmaps, he really wasn't so much interested in selling the system as much as he was on "selling" the system.
Note that I have never read his book nor known of the man but there is a strong stigma of marketed for pay programs whenever Buzan's name is involved in mindmaps.
Therefore when people started "re-interpreting" and expanding what the original mindmap system was supposed to be, he just let it go and just cherished the big cash flow and position he got as the man associated with mindmapping.
Originally, my guess is that Buzan's model is for two things: brainstorming and snippet gathering (think mini-lecture notes cut down to pieces)
At the same time, I think most people, as soon as they heard the term tried to use it for more general means. This started the whole "use it for whatever you need" thing which influenced most mindmapping programs eventually and since most people aren't right minded, people just thought these general mindmapping programs were great even if prior to applying this concept didn't really need it.
It wasn't all horrible though and this is probably why the stigma of the "general" mindmap lives on.
Two of the most effective hacks that came from it are:
1. Draw - At it's simplest form, mindmapping is just drawing with standardized shapes. This is why it's so great for fast brainstorming because writing really evolved from the same core concept of standardized drawing so it works in the same pattern and aligns with right brained people who were raised not being allowed to "draw" (the whole you can't draw past the lines or it's bad propagated by most coloring books and the whole alphabet system forcing to praise shapes drawn into the line thing)
This I think is also part of Buzan's book but if I have to guess, I think Buzan also really underestimated the manner by which people drew and that is why many mindmaps look more like drawings because some people took it to heart that it was about drawing and remembering notes rather than "implementing a more effective system"
2. It's a brain dump - Really David Allen isn't the first person to say this and in fact lots of people have said this but web blogs continue to understate this which is what leads to the whole confusion. Really think MindManager minus the Mindmapping section. The flaw of paper is supposed to be replaced by "extracting" the information you got out of the mindmaps into your preferred software notetaker. Of course that's the rub. YOU HAVE TO HAVE A PREFERRED NOTETAKER BUT
people in the web rarely emphasize to us the necessity of this. Instead what they do is:
2.a. Pseudo Left-Brain Mindmapping - This is what most people do when they want to make you feel the whole "YAY! I can work mindmapping too. Lookie-lookie"
They create an over-simplified model of the above by taking something..."minor" and then copy-pasting it into the mindmapping software and then they play around with the formatting and...voila! They can mindmap. Use mindmapping programs cause they do too!
Yet in reality what they really do is they either just use that as a way that they get mindmapping and throw the system away in favor of their preferred system which is their safety net or they use that as an added pretty layer to their notes. (Going back to the whole fishboning concept that is rarely stated because it attracts less readers than mindmapping.)
Maybe it's that I haven't done it enough to get good at it, but why should it be so hard? I've found that a plain old outline format works way better for me, provided there's a good search that lets me find what I need quickly, and some halfway-decent internal linking. MS Word's Outline view, Power Point, OneNote (especially OneNote) are much more intuitive and straightforward to me.
IMO, it's not that. If I have to guess, I think it's because you're really being sold to the marketing view that it's different from the programs you use in structure. IMO, while mindmapping can be that way, fishboning isn't. In fact, take OneNote for example. It shows exactly what a superior non-adherent to the sales talk system is about. I don't particularly like OneNote but one of the "duh" ideas it did was it finally implemented fishboning the way fishboning should have been done in software: add two trees in both side and a Notepad/Wordpad in the center.
Not that I'm accusing the creator for drawing inspiration from mindmaps, since I don't know, but the similarities of the two system as well as why OneNote evolves from that system is apparent when you pay attention to that section of both OneNote and other fishboning programs. (The diagram program obviously still present in OneNote too so that's a given.)