#5 – Digital Gardens

Inspired by the idea of digital gardens, I tried starting my own on neocities.org for week 5. I’m confident that it’ll be abandoned for the duration of this semester as I want to focus on maintaining this blog as well as my UX design portfolio site, but as soon as I have time again, I’d like to return to it.

The main draw to the idea of a digital garden for me was the idea that they are intensely personal – in a lot of the examples shared in our reading – and don’t follow a “time-stamped record of thought”. Also according to the article, it’s not meant to be something intended for speaking to an audience, either. I like this idea of having a little space on the internet that I can invite people to, but isn’t made for them.

Ultimately, what motivated me to act upon my inspiration was a long-time wish for a space where I can post my illustrations for fun, without the time-stamping and audience (or a visible lack of) that inherently follows all social media posts. As a container for art, it felt disconnected from how I wanted my work to be displayed; that’s why when the idea was presented that there exists a whole subculture on the internet that displays their thoughts in a personal way, I felt like I had come across the answer of how I wanted to showcase my hobby illustrations to others.

I chose neocities as my platform purely because of its observed demographic. There seem to be a lot of ‘nerdy’ youth in the space, who see an appeal in nostalgic internet aesthetics. It helps me take myself back to a time where it felt like the internet was more successful in cultivating interpersonal connections, rather than speaking to a large audience.

The digital garden right now is extremely bare-bones. Coding a website from scratch is something I’ve done in the past, but I’d forgotten how big of a time commitment it is – as of now, it only contains a framework of what kind of content I’d like to add in the future, which I see as the bare minimum. I’d like to chip away at the site gradually, as I’ve done with my other sites in the past, and see how my digital garden grows.