Champions of the Information Mapping® methodology often scorn the suggestion that any written material might not benefit from a good dose of the Method. We understand why. Learning to Map made your life a little crazy, didn’t it? You became allergic to unclear writing. You couldn’t look at a document without thinking about how you’d chunk and organize its content. Maybe you even decided to Map everything you write. We love your enthusiasm, but the truth is that not everything needs to be Mapped, or even should be.
Do you always want readers to skip, scan and read only what they need? When you’re curled up with a novel and a glass of wine in front of the fireplace, do you want it “mapped” out for you or do you want to absorb and enjoy every nuance of the story? Have you ever spent a quiet evening lost in a good user manual? Not likely. Nobody reads that kind of writing. They use it.
And therein lies the difference. I love the Information Mapping Method because it’s the best way, bar none, to get information off of a page or a screen and into a human mind, where it can be acted upon. But not everything we read must be acted upon.
So that’s where I draw the line. To inform, to instruct, to make complicated concepts crystal clear, I’ll take Mapping every time. But to entertain, to provoke thought, or to amuse, I’ll choose good old-fashioned narrative prose. Because this blog is intended to provoke thought and questions, we’re changing the way we write it. We’ll still organize our thoughts according to the Information Mapping principles and even use labels, but you’ll notice more of a narrative, conversational style than before. I’m sure some of our biggest fans will call us out on this decision. But the style is carefully chosen to reflect the intent and purpose of the blog. I hope you’ll enjoy the change.
The smart writer uses a style appropriate to the end user and how he or she will "interact" with the materials. You make an excellent point that you don't scan a great novel. You become completely absorbed. With a manual or memo, you want your reader to do something with the information. Pick the format that fits the situation and it's more likely the reader will accept it.