A brief history of the digital garden | Maggie Appleton

Maggie's writing is always fantastic, and their thoughts on digital gardens are always worth reading. The history here is nothing new to me personally, but does present it in an ideal manner. I also found myself thoroughly agreeing with their "patterns" of digital gardening. Just a great article, full of quote-worthy comments, on a topic that continues to intrigue.

On where the concept of digital gardening originated:

If anyone should be considered the original source of digital gardening, it's Caufield. They are the first to lay out this whole idea in poetic, coherent words.

On the benefit of a true web of information, sprawling as it is:

You get to actively choose which curiosity trail to follow, rather than defaulting to the algorithmically-filtered ephemeral stream.

On the way digital gardens tend to form bi-directional links and rabbit warrens of interconnected information:

Gardens don't consider publication dates the most important detail of a piece of writing. Dates might be included on posts, but they aren't the structural basis of how you navigate around the garden. Posts are connected to other by posts through related themes, topics, and shared context.
One of the best ways to do this is through Bi-Directional Links – links that make both the destination page and the source page visible to the reader. This makes it easy to move between related content.

On the shift that occurred in blogs, as they morphed from personal (yet public) journals into reverse-chronological personal branding exercises:

We act like tiny magazines, sending our writing off to the printer.

On the difference with a garden:

Gardens are designed to evolve alongside your thoughts. When you first have an idea, it's fuzzy and unrefined.

On how we use social media differently (I'd never really considered this, but it feels very true):

We seem to reserve all our imperfect declarations and poorly-worded announcements for platforms that other people own and control.

And I adore the concept of a chaos stream within that same context:

Things we dump into private WhatsApp group chats, DMs, and cavalier Tweet threads are part of our chaos streams - a continuous flow of high noise / low signal ideas.

One final, clever analogy between digital spaces and agriculture, specifically discussing how digital gardens should use multiple mediums, not just rely on text and links like a Wiki:

Historically, monocropping has been the quickest route to starvation, pests, and famine. Don't be a lumper potato farmer while everyone else is sustainably intercropping.

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