A few years ago I played around with the Federated Wiki, and I liked it. At the same time setting one of my own up was a bit of work and life comes along and drags you off in another direction.
I liked the idea of connected documents, ideas and thoughts and of those being published, searchable and readable. The ‘outsourcing’ of the mind was liberating, while at the same time being excited. I found that I was able to think through things more thoroughly, and the thoughts had time to percolate and fuse together — and I could see those connections form.
For the last year or so I’ve been coming back to that idea as well as trying to bring together the bits and pieces of work and myself that lives across platforms and applications. David Jones has blogged some of his work in this space and I followed along with his journey. I was reminded about the Mike Caulfield’s Garden and the time when blogs and Twitter fueled (at least for me) a yearning to connect and unite with those around me.
I’ve been trying to find my way in this space – testing apps and processes along the way. I want to embed better knowledge management practices — basically how do you externalise thoughts. Along the way a couple of things became clear about what I wanted:
- Files and folders – databases are great but I hate the abstraction they represent. I also want my stuff to be future proof and not tied into a specific app or service.
- In my Cloud – I want everything stored in a space that I control. I want the luxury of the cloud, but I want to be in control and open to change in the future.
- System Agnostic – A lot of these PKM (Personal Knowledge Management) tools aren’t a blank slate – they’re optimised to work in a specific way. That’s great but I struggle to conform to any specific system – I want to combine ideas and processes. So something that is less prescriptive is perfect.
- Show Me How I Think – one of the great things about the new tools is that I can visualise my schema (Thanks Paul!). Seeing how things connect is immensely powerful — its the key difference between thinking in my mind and thinking externally.
So where am I at?
- I’ve radically rationalised my footprint – I’ve gone through and deleted accounts and content across a bunch of services. I still have too many, but far less than ever before.
- I’m moving content into Markdown. I love the plain text formatting and metadata combo that suits me perfectly. It means I’m app agnostic and storage is easy to manage.
- I’ve tried Roam and Foam, Evernote and a few other options – but the one that has worked best so far is Obsidian. Its a bit risky being at such an early stage – but it does pretty much everything I want/need to do. I’m hoping it will enable open publishing in the near future – but I’m also wondering if I need to brush-up on some JS and building something to sit on top of my markdown folder (thinking about Eleventy).
- I’ve started to pull some of my content out of WordPress. The blog is staying – but I want to own my content and actually spend sometime going back to some of the posts I’d written. There’s some waffle in there, but there is still some stuff that I love that I have written. This tool was awesome and only took a couple of minutes to setup and run (after I updated Node and a few other dependancies).
- I’ve got everything currently setup in Dropbox and Github. I’m hoping that this means that in the future I can work out a publishing process in the near future, but at the moment I’m concentrating on curating what I have and pulling all my stuff together. From there I can start to make new things.