Matthew Graybosch
author by choice, techie by necessity

Digital Gardening

I've been reading about digital gardens lately, and they reminded me of how the Web used to be back in the 1990s.

People used to build their own little sites, and branch off from their home pages as their interests dictated. On your home page, you'd link to a page for your favorite sf novels, or a shrine to your favorite JRPG, or a page dedicated to old computers with 6502 processors. And people either found them, liked them, and linked to them or they didn't. If they didn't, it was no skin off your nose; you were doing your own thing. If they did, it was “kudos to $EMAIL, flames to /dev/null”.

But then people wanted to timestamp and syndicate what they were putting on the web, so we ended up with blogs, RSS feeds, and the like.

Then we ended up with stuff like Twitter and Facebook, which were made by snot-nosed college dropouts who either didn't know or had forgotten why AOL was such a lousy experience, and set out to combine AOL's walled garden with the streaming metaphor bloggers created.

It sucks. It ruined the web for a lot of people. Hell, I keep trying to recreate a blog and keep walking away from it because I don't actually like blogging.

So maybe it's time to cultivate a digital garden instead, and party like it's 1999?

There's more about this in “The Garden and the Stream” on Hapgood.