- A digital garden is a loose collection of hyperlinked notes (personal, or project scoped) that are maintained over long periods of time; like if you were tending to a garden over the years.
Digital gardens benefit from compounding effects: they gain usefulness over time.
- Hypothesis: their usefulness goes up superlinearly w.r.t. nodes added, as a lot of the value is in the networking: the relations between concepts, events, pieces of information that build up over time.
- pull digital gardeners
- Seeds. Seed your garden with quality content and cultivate your curiosity. Plant seeds in your mind garden by taking smart personal notes (taking raw notes is useless). These don't need to be written in a publishable form.
- Trees. Grow your knowledge by forming new branches and connecting the dots. Write short structured notes articulating specific ideas and publish them in your digital garden. One note in your digital garden = one idea. (what you're currently reading is such a note) Do not keep orphan notes. Thread your thoughts.
- Fruits. Produce new work. These are more substantial—essays, videos, maybe a book at some point. The kind of work researchers and creatives may hope will help them live beyond their expiration date.
Recently-ish popular term for a kind of public personal PKM / wiki.
Also see the Garden metaphor for some history.
an online space at the intersection of a notebook and a blog, where digital gardeners share seeds of thoughts to be cultivated in public.
You mean a wiki, right?
I think "wiki" is a term that focuses on a particular tool, whereas "digital garden" is a more user-intention high level phrase
You mean blogging, right?
Sounds a bit like blogging, no?
I prefer to think of digital gardening as a new variation of blogging. Blogging that is:
- Constantly evolving
- Less performative
Contrary to a blog, where articles and essays have a publication date and start decaying as soon as they are published, a digital garden is evergreen: digital gardeners keep on editing and refining their notes.
You mean personal websites, right?
I tend to think of it more as that intersection of notebook/blog/wiki, but it is sometimes also framed as 'old school personal website'.
A growing movement of people are tooling with back-end code to create sites that are more collage-like and artsy, in the vein of Myspace and Tumblr—less predictable and formatted than Facebook and Twitter.
Digital gardens explore a wide variety of topics and are frequently adjusted and changed to show growth and learning, particularly among people with niche interests. – Digital gardens let you cultivate your own little bit of the internet
“With blogging, you’re talking to a large audience,” he says. “With digital gardening, you’re talking to yourself. You focus on what you want to cultivate over time.”
Through them, people are creating an internet that is less about connections and feedback, and more about quiet spaces they can call their own.
“Gardens … lie between farmland and wilderness,” he wrote. “The garden is farmland that delights the senses, designed for delight rather than commodity.”
Should you really publish your half-baked notes-to-self to the Internet?
To me that is unthinkable: my notes are an extension of my thinking and a personal tool. They are part of my inner space. Publishing is a very different thing, meant for a different audience (you, not me), more product than internal process. At most I can imagine having separate public versions of internal notes, but really anything I publish in a public digital garden is an output of my internal digital garden.
To be honest, I don’t see much appeal in publishing your entire unfiltered notes to the web. Synthesize interesting portions of them occasionally into coherent blog posts that other people can consume without digging through a forest of links, backlinks, and footnotes.
You're probably already doing it
Believe it or not, you've probably already started planting the seeds of your digital garden. You don't necessarily need an organized wiki on your self-hosted personal site. Posting on social media is still the most common form of digital gardening.
Agree with that wholeheartedly. Although the indiewebber in me says that if you're doing it on a big social media platform, it won't work out in the long run.