1b2 - Zettelkasten and the great folder rebellion
We can look to around 2008 as to when notes became FAST. And that was with the ==introduction of Evernote to the public.== Broadly speaking, Evernote sped up our expectations for creating new notes, and for quickly navigating between notes.
As we gained the ability to make FAST notes, the rigidity of folders really started to show itself. The clunkiness of twirling down 📂 X, then 📂 Y, then 📂 Z…all that clunkiness really started to interfere with the our adapting expectations to working with FAST notes (say, by just hitting cmd-n or ctrl-n).
Fast forward several years. Along with FAST notes, Evernote came with other problems:
- misguided business management practices
- invasive data mining
All of this made people ask questions.
- What if I wanted to leave a piece of software?
- Are my notes trapped?
- If I try to export my notes, what is the true cost I’ll have to pay in terms of: time, attention, and emotion?
Many of these are privacy concerns, that overlap with future-proofing concerns, that overlap with functionality concerns. And from these concerns, re-emerged an old analog method to solve these new digital problems.
==The Zettelkasten method==; which is essentially writing FAST notes, on note cards, in your own words, one idea per card, with a link to another card. When this method is applied to our digital notes, the magic starts to happen. We can work as quickly as we can think—which is what we are fully adapted to nowadays. It’s just what we expect.
But the Zettelkasten method essentially ==abolishes folders.== You know, those things we all grew up with, and used for years. That’s a pretty big radical shift. And yet, because the Zettelkasten method is so powerful, it’s a shift many people are willing to make. And because people get results they like, they decide to completely abolish the folder. They “throw the baby out with the bathwater”. But perhaps, if we throw away the dogma surrounding the Zettelkasten method (strict “atomic” notes), perhaps folders can still serve a purpose…and not only folders, but other higher-order notes that give us the structure we crave.
This time though, instead of using rigid folder-only structures, we now have the ability to use ==flexible “fluid frameworks”.==