The digital garden vs. the digital stream

This post talks about the difference between the digital garden and digital streams.

It talks about building out zettlekasten-like personal wikis or digital gardens.

In the Garden, to ask what happened first is trivial at best. The question “Did the bridge come after these trees” in a well-designed garden is meaningless historical trivia. The bridge doesn’t reply to the trees or the trees to the bridge. They are related to one another in a relatively timeless way.

This is true of everything in the garden. Each flower, tree, and vine is seen in relation to the whole by the gardener so that the visitors can have unique yet coherent experiences as they find their own paths through the garden. We create the garden as a sort of experience generator, capable of infinite expression and meaning.

On the other hand, digital streams are things like Twitter, Facebook feeds, blogs, email, etc. It flows by you. You can be active within it, but it has its own momentum.

It “replaces topology with serialization”:

Rather than imagine a timeless world of connection and multiple paths, the Stream presents us with a single, time ordered path with our experience (and only our experience) at the center.

Whereas the garden is integrative, the Stream is self-assertive. It’s persuasion, it’s argument, it’s advocacy. It’s personal and personalized and immediate. It’s invigorating. And as we may see in a minute it’s also profoundly unsuited to some of the uses we put it to.

The author argues that the stream is good, but incomplete.

It also references the 1945 essay As We May Think by Vannevar Bush, which is where the idea of the memex (a zettlekasten-like machine) comes from.

digital gardens [[ old web ]] The Memex Method


Here are all the notes in this garden, along with their links, visualized as a graph.