What’s This “Digital Garden” Bullshit?

Oh, my; how pretentious of me to refer to a blog as a digital garden!

There’s some decent documentation on the idea of digital gardening. I found the concept from the immensely informative garden of Flavio Copes. (1) He linked back to Joel Hooks (which appears to have gotten some traction on Hacker News), who referenced Amy Hoy’s thinkpiece on blogs breaking the web and Tom Critchlow’s post on building a digital garden and what that means. (2)

Other available online texts go way into the technical weeds on the idea. It’s the same sickness that feeds much of the Zettlekasten discussion.

What’s that have to do with this site, though?

I share the same trepidation regarding taxonomy and organizing data. Hell, I don’t know the genre of any my fiction; that’s why I’m using the weaselword ‘Speculative’ for my works. (3) I love making connections between posts on my site, and linking to the random seeds that spawn ideas from elsewhere on/in/among the Web. Justifying those links in some category or tag structure leaves me with a sad, bloated feeling.

The business side of blogging also holds no interest for me. Moderating comments, collecting and reading tea leaves analytics, SEO optimization; all things that didn’t move me in 2000, and still fail to motivate my actions. The posts for this site solely exists to provide clarity for what I’m thinking. The actual purpose of the site is providing a single landing page for folks looking for my work.

Oh, and dates. Do I hate dates on posts. It implies an unfreshness to the words, as if they suddenly began to rot. There’s a whole cottage industry to create evergreen content, and I get that posts (specifically on software) can be out of date (4).

So if I keep tending these posts (see there’s that garden thing again!) adding, clarifying, modifying, what purpose does that initial date serve? And if all I’m doing is tweaking the post a bit, does it really need a giant UPDATED ON tag for the date?

Non-fiction writing is the mirror image of my fiction writing. For non-fiction I like doing multiple passes, adding references, all that rewriting garbage I avoid when writing a story (5). I like the not-being-finished aspect, the living and growing side.

And I like publishing things on the site when I want to, to get it out into the world. Being held up by editing and other finishing details is so commercial.

Hopefully that gives you an idea of what I’m gunning for with the term digital garden. I’ll return to this post to clarify more (and to finish it; look at those abandoned footnotes! Maybe you can fill them in for yourself!).