News and thoughts from CS Odessa, maker of the ConceptDraw product line: ConceptDraw PRO, ConceptDraw PROJECT and ConceptDraw MINDMAP.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Predictive Information Mapping

I remember the moment well. I was with some colleagues at an analyst presentation, when an IDC analyst came over and started talking to us about mind mapping. He didn't say what I expected him to say--what we have been highlighting in all of our presentations.

Instead of talking about what a great information management tool mind mapping was, he enthused instead over how each mind map creates a model of how the user's mind works. He looked forward to the day when machines would be able to map out a topic FOR someone. Based on what the machine had learned about how the individual built maps over time, it could build a map that would make perfect sense to the user.

I thought about that as I watched a video yesterday on Beet.TV about how the New York Times is doing predictive modeling of how its stories spread through the Twitterscape. (See http://www.beet.tv/2013/02/timessparktwitter.html). The Times has found or created technology that does for a group of people what mind mapping could be said to do for an individual.

If the Times's major investment in this technology in any indication (and it surely is), then it knows or has a very good idea of what kinds of people (or maybe even which individuals) read what kinds of stories--and now they know these people's other interests (what/where/how/when they eat, wear, think, travel to, etc.) so they can push out a trending story they know these people will probably read--along with an ad package designed to appeal to them.

I know news content has always been something to fill the space between ads, but the Times seems to be taking that to new heights.

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