Digital Gardens are a metaphor of Gardens but for information. The concept is similar to how Gardens are tended for overtime and maintained. Old, dying stuff is removed and new things are added. Some things last for a very long time.
The Garden metaphor is often used in contrast to the Stream which refers to things like Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, RSS, and other content which is usually ordered by time and which is constantly being added to new items. Instead a Digital Garden has a certain number of items which are updated over time similar to how a Wiki has a single page for each topic or sub topic.
Garden vs the Stream
When thinking about this idea of maintaining a digital garden a great way to explain it is in contrast to the stream. There is a difference between the time-based information we receive in streams (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, RSS) and information we curate and refine like wikis.
The difference means we need to start thinking of the information we handle in different ways. Specifically, that it exists in different states of consumption. Things we find or learn on social media is mostly passive versus things that went in our wiki or digital gardens as having been fully consumed and understood.
- Digital gardens let you cultivate your own little bit of the internet [MIT Technology Review, Sept 2020]
- My blog is a digital garden, not a blog [Joel Hooks, 2020]
- r/Digital Gardens [Reddit]
- The Garden and the Stream [Mike Caulfield, 2015]