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An online community for lifelong learners

Sébastien Dubois /

8 min read

A while ago I've announced the creation of an online community centered on Personal Knowledge Management. In this article, I want to share with you the vision and the core values of this community.

Personal Knowledge Management community logo

Knowledge management challenges

For the longest time, I collected RSS feeds and spent an insane amount of time reading articles. I've also read tons of non-fiction books, but didn't bother taking notes. I thought that I could just read, understand, and let my brain take care of the rest for me. I trusted it with all my discoveries. To my dismay, my brain betrayed me. I've learned a ton for sure, but failed to retain much.

I later understood that reading is far from enough to truly learn and grow. Brains are not trustworthy. Long-term memory is not very reliable. Brains are subject to cognitive bias, to information decay, to noise, and many other issues. Memories are not always available when we need them, and short-term memory is very limited. There's a lot more to be said, but that's a story for another day. Long story short, I understood that I needed to externalize my knowledge in one way or another. Since then, I've been on a journey to learn more about knowledge management.

I've been passionate about this subject for a very long time. As a lifelong learner, I've used many tools, techniques and workflows over the years. I've used raw text files, complex folder naming schemes, Word documents, Google Docs, HTML pages, Mind maps, Wikis, Evernote, journaling, and many more. I've always been on the lookout for new ways to manage/organize knowledge, and keep track of things.

Over time, I've realized that blogging was a great way for me to explore ideas for myself while helping others learn. I wrote more and more, but soon realized that every article was pretty much disconnected from the rest of my knowledge. I did have cross-references here and there, but it all felt really weak and brittle. So I've continued looking for better options to manage my knowledge.

Nowadays, there are so many platforms, tools and services that it's easy to create a mess for ourselves and to feel overwhelmed. Keeping a large volume of information organized and useful is a tough challenge. As I started writing my first book back in 2019, I realized that way too much information was still solely in my head, and that the rest was scattered all over the place. The map of my information was in my mind, and it became harder and harder to remember it all. I needed to fix that.

For a long time wikis felt like the best option for me. But I've now changed my mind, thanks to the rise of Tools for Thought (TfT). There's now a growing ecosystem of tools to help us manage our knowledge and ideas, and there's no doubt that the ecosystem will evolve a lot in the coming years.

I've experimented with various approaches to improve my workflow and better organize my knowledge. Sadly, up until this year, I've explored on my own. I didn't really think about other people sharing the same challenges. Exploring a space alone is frustrating and fraught with pitfalls. Sometimes, we stumble upon a new tool or technique, and have a hard time evaluating whether switching to it will be beneficial in the long run or if it will just waste precious time. Sometimes problems only become apparent after a while. Sometimes we're also missing out on new evolutions. We may also get stuck in "old ways". Sometimes that's good, sometimes that's not. And that's the frustrating part: when you're on your own, you have nobody to guide you.

Why a community?

Recently, I've grown more and more interested in audience and community building. I've made many friends on Twitter, and I've come to realize that being part of a community of like-minded people is extremely positive, powerful and valuable.

I've been exploring Personal Knowledge Management (PKM) for a long time. Now, I feel like it's time for me to share what I've learned. I want to exchange ideas, and help others get better at managing their own knowledge. I know how impactful knowledge management is, and I want to help as many people as possible to see it too. I want to let others know what I wish I had known a long time ago. I want all lifelong learners to strive.

And what better way to do that than to create a community?

I know that I'm not alone facing challenges around how to organize knowledge. It's a global problem. Everyone on earth is completely swamped with information. And it gets worse every day. That's why I wanted to create this community. A community of people who share the same challenges as I do. A community of people who want to share ideas and experiences and grow together.

A community for lifelong learners.

Personal Knowledge Management (PKM) community and digital gardens

The PKM community is a place where lifelong learners can share ideas, workflows, tools, interesting articles, tips, tricks, and hacks about knowledge management.

Everyone is more than welcome to join. Our community is free, and open to anyone. There's no barrier to entry. You're welcome, whether you're getting started or are already further along the way. We can all learn from each other! ✨

In this community, we want to explore approaches, techniques, tools and workflows to help us get better at managing our own knowledge. We want to understand how to retain more of what we read. We want to discover how to learn more effectively. We want to uncover powerful mental models. We want to find ways to make links between seemingly unrelated ideas. We want to become more creative. We want to become "idea machines". We want to explore knowledge for a lifetime, and become wiser 📖.

Together, we want to explore the benefits of writing, learning, and sharing. We want to uncover awesome sources of knowledge, and ways to grow beautiful digital gardens 🌷.

We want to understand, and even shape the future of learning.

The ultimate goals of this community are to help each other grow as lifelong learners and raise awareness about the value of personal knowledge management.

Convinced already? Click here to join us: https://dsebastien.net/pkm-community

What we do

In the PKM community, we:

  • Think about and contribute to a better future for lifelong learners and society
  • Share what we know/learn/discover/use
  • Put people front and center
  • Meet people where they're at
  • Invest in each other
  • Lift people up
  • Give back whenever we can
  • Encourage new ideas
  • Assume good intentions
  • Are fun and friendly
  • Leave no question unanswered
  • Expand our horizons
  • Agree to disagree

What we don't do

In the PKM community we don't:

  • Chase growth for growth's sake
  • Sell data
  • Waste people's time
  • Think there's only one way of doing things
  • Dictate what to do
  • Patronize
  • Judge others
  • Assume the worst

What are our values?

Our core values are:

  • Curiosity
  • Openness
  • Continuous improvement
  • Positivity
  • Simplicity
  • Friendliness
  • Generosity
  • Empathy

Who are we?

We are...

  • Lifelong learners
  • Curious minds
  • Thinkers
  • Tinkerers
  • Eager to share ideas
  • Witty (sometimes even nerdy)
  • Open minded
  • Willing to grow
  • Willing to challenge the status quo
  • Aiming for continuous improvement
  • Coming from all walks of life
  • Positive
  • Creative
  • Enthusiastic
  • Generous
  • Welcoming

How to join the community?

You're only one click away from being a part of the PKM community! 🚀

We hang out on Slack: https://dsebastien.net/pkm-community

Many of us are also avid Twitter users. We use the #PKMCommunity hashtag to identify our posts. On Twitter, we get to learn more from one another, ask questions and share ideas with the wider community.

If you want to lurk around (that's fine too), you can follow my blog, and subscribe to my newsletter: https://newsletter.dsebastien.net.

Plans for the future

I'm embarked on a journey to improve the way we manage our personal knowledge. I've explored knowledge management for many years, and am eager to share thoughts, ideas and discoveries with this community.

In the future, I intend to share more and more content focused on personal knowledge management, both on this blog, and on my newsletter: https://newsletter.dsebastien.net

I also intend to work on solutions that will help us all achieve our goals as lifelong learners.

That's it for today! ✨

Hope to see you soon! 👋

PS: check out the Dev Concepts collection of e-books, join the Software Crafters community, the Personal Knowledge Management community, and come say hi on Twitter!
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