📝 The Garden and the Stream

Michael Caulfield uses the metaphors of the garden and the stream to discuss the web. The garden is rhizomatic in nature without a centralised structure, whereas the stream brings everything together. As Caulfield explains,

The Garden is the web as topology. The web as space. It’s the integrative web, the iterative web, the web as an arrangement and rearrangement of things to one another.

The Stream is a newer metaphor with old roots. We can think of the”event stream” of programming, the “lifestream” proposed by researchers in the 1990s. More recently, the term stream has been applied to the never ending parade of twitter, news alerts, and Facebook feeds.

Audrey Watters builds on this metaphor to compare LMS and Domain of One’s Own.

Discussing the development of Micro.Blog, Manton Reece discusses the idea of open garden as an answer to the walled garden created by platform capitalism:

The answer to a walled garden is not to create a platform without rules. It’s not outsourcing decisions to algorithms, with recommended users and topics that can be gamed or lead new users astray. That’s not enough for the challenges brought to us by massive, ad-based social networks, where fake news and hate can spread quickly.

We need a new approach. Not controlled only by algorithms, but also not a walled garden that limits distribution of content. We need a system that prioritizes curation while preserving the freedom to publish outside of silos, with APIs based on the IndieWeb that are open by default instead of locked down with developer registration.

Tanya Basu discusses the rise of ‘digital gardens’ on the web:

Beneath the umbrella term, however, digital gardens don’t follow rules. They’re not blogs, short for “weblogs,” a term that suggests a time-stamped record of thought. They’re not a social-media platform—connections are made, but often it’s through linking to other digital gardens, or gathering in forums like Reddit and Telegram to nerd out over code.

Naming, Building, Breaking and Knowing the Web

Why ‘A Domain of One’s Own’ Matters

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