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Josh Branchaud
Josh Branchaud

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The Digital Garden

We are in a moment where a lot people are wanting to reclaim the web and make it personal again. There is a patch within this awakening that has recently piqued my interest. It is the digital garden.

The digital garden is an idea. It is also an active product of the deliberate practice of reading and writing continually. As Joel Hooks puts it, "It's a spot where I can post ideas, snippets, resources, thoughts, collections, and other bits and pieces that I find interesting and useful.". It can be for the big things, but it is especially for the small things. "It is a blog, sure, but it is also a wiki.". Which is to say, it's not about a chronological ordering of content, but rather a highly-connected web of content. A place to "store and evolve deeper longer-term thinking."

It is not at all the traditional notion of blogging. "It’s a less-performative version of blogging - more of a captain’s log than a broadcast blog.". It is a place to write more and write small. It is a place that is as much for you as it is for your audience. It's a place you are free to be wrong and incomplete, while inviting feedback and criticism -- in short, a place to learn in public.

The digital garden is "a space for collecting (and connecting) the dots." You can and should link to other writing and references beyond your own to build up your network of knowledge. "The Garden is the web as topology. The web as space. It’s the integrative web, the iterative web, the web as an arrangement and rearrangement of things to one another." It's a place where a bunch of disparate, seemingly unrelated ideas coexist and as you journey through this digital garden you find serendipitous connections between these ideas. These are connections that can lead to bigger writing projects and exciting insights.

To me, a digital garden is a digital space full of interconnected ideas and information that you collect, curate, tend to, and learn from over time.


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