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On Digital Gardening

Last updated Aug 17, 2022

# Notes

From my Are.na channels: Digital Gardens and Tools for Thought

# How the Blog Broke the Web

# Of Digital Streams, Campfires and Gardens

# The garden and the stream, a technopastoral

the predominant form of the social web — that amalgam of blogging, Twitter, Facebook, forums, Reddit, Instagram — is an ==impoverished model for learning and research== and that our survival as a species depends on us getting past the sweet, salty fat of ==“the web as conversation”== and on to something more timeless, integrative, iterative, something less personal and less self-assertive, something more solitary yet more connected.

Two approaches to the Web: the Garden and the Stream

# The Garden

The bridge is a bridge is a bridge — a defined thing with given boundaries and a stated purpose. But the multi-linear nature of the garden means that there is no one right view of the bridge, no one correct approach. ==The architect creates the bridge, but it is the visitors to the park which create the bridge’s meaning.== A good bridge supports many approaches, many views, many seasons, maybe many uses, and the meaning of that bridge will even evolve for the architect over time.

# The Stream

# Implications

# Maggie Appleton on Digital Gardening

https://maggieappleton.com/evergreens

https://maggieappleton.com/garden-history

It harkens back to the early days of the web when people had fewer notions of how websites “should be.” It’s an ethos that is both classically old and newly imagined.

It captures the desire for exploratory experiences, a welcoming of digital weirdness, and a healthy amount of resistance to top-down structures.

# The Six Patterns of Gardening

  1. Topography over Timelines
    1. organized contextual relationships and associative links
    2. best way to do this through bi-directional links
    3. many entry points, no prescribed pathways
      1. gardeners often layer on other ways of exploring their knowledge base
        1. thematic piles
        2. nested folders
        3. tags and filtering functionality
        4. advanced search bars
        5. visual node graphs
        6. central indexes
  2. Continuous Growth
    1. constantly growing, evolving, changing
    2. evolves alongside your thoughts
      1. fuzzy and unrefined -> developed idea
    3. the process of researching and refining happens on the open internet
  3. Imperfection & Learning in Public
    1. imperfect by design
    2. Domestic Cozy
    3. intimate and public; less peformative, more intentional and thoughtful
    4. perfect balance of chaos and cultivation
    5. Imperfection -> learning in public
    6. See Digital Garden Terms of Service
  4. Playful, Personal, and Experimental
    1. non-homogenous by nature
      1. same seeds, different arrangements
    2. organised to match your way of thinking
    3. One goal: deep contextualisation
      1. response to context collapse
  5. Intercropping & Content Diversity
    1. not just a collection of interlinked words
    2. audio-visual cornucopia
      1. allows for more than just words
    3. Historically, monocropping has been the quickest route to starvation, pests and famine…sustainably intercrop instead
  6. Independent Ownership
    1. small patch of the web that you own and fully control
    2. not on social media platforms
    3. helps you plan long-term change
    4. prepare for a future of digital gardening that’s hopefully multi-player

https://github.com/MaggieAppleton/digital-gardeners

I want to add a final note on here: we should be careful not to mistake the technical features of a garden for the ethos of gardening. We have reached the point in the gardening hype train where people seem to think backlinks, hover previews, and visual graphs are what define a “digital garden.” This is misguided. ==Gardening is a practice that treats a personal website as a constantly evolving landscape where you develop your ideas in public.== Gardens are… a) Explorable, rather than structured as a strictly linear steam of posts. This is usually achieved through deeply interlinking notes where readers can navigate freely through the content. b) Slowly grown over time, rather than creating “finished” work that you never touch again. You revise, update, and change your ideas as they develop, and ideally find a way to indicate the “done-ness” state to your reader.

# Miscellaenous

# Outline

  1. Web 1.0
  2. Social media v.s. Personal website; garden v.s. Stream
  3. How to digital garden?

See Canva presentation here