Enter the Digital Garden

The humble personal site. A place for…whatever really; working through ideas in public, keeping yourself accountable by broadcasting what you’re doing now, even just a simple work portfolio. The personal site can be a lot more than just a blog.

Having been publishing here for almost three years now, I’d largely settled into the groove of blogging: 400-ish words every other week. Just enough to keep me invested but not enough to turn the site into a second job. As comfortable a groove as this was however, I kept coming back to sites like those mentioned above, sites that did something a little different with the format.

Then a few weeks ago I stumbled upon Maggie Appleton and the idea of the Digital Garden. In overview, a digital garden takes the view that rather than publishing a single complete piece of work (I.e. a blog post) every few weeks or months, you publish as you go, gradually building up a piece bit by bit in public.

I’d found something new to experiment with.

Several years ago I trialled a short-lived ‘notes’ section for tweet-length posts about topics of interest. I scrapped the feature not long after it launched however. It wasn’t clear even to myself how these posts merited their own section and figuring out what should be a ‘real’ blog post and what was just a note proved too confusing.

The idea of a digital garden simplifies this. It doesn’t matter if ideas are half-baked, incomplete, or even completely intelligible. They’ll develop into something over time.

But there’s another reason a digital garden got my interest. Many times in my work I’ve found myself constantly searching up the same question, returning to the same Stack Overflow response, same man page, same documentation, to retrieve the same information. Moving this information under one roof in the form of the garden helps streamline this. Also, by hosting it on my own site, I can add in additional context and further resources about a topic that hopefully makes the information more useful to whoever stumbles upon it in the future.

I’m starting off small by adding a few notes that I just had locally until now. Some are complete, others less so. Will the garden last? I don’t know - but that’s the point; slowly adding in pieces bit by bit to form something larger.

So feel free to explore the garden.