I was looking into Notion updates at their Notion What's New page, and I discovered an exciting new feature.
They even mentioned this amazing idea on how to think about notes.
The structure of ideas is never sequential; and indeed, our thought processes are not very sequential either.Ted Nelson in Literary Machines, 1982
Creating Connections Quickly
Notion has the ability to create links to other pages through double brackets.
If for instance, you are in a page called
modern technology and you want to link to a page called
smart phone all you need to do is type
[[ followed by
Notion will now give you a choice to select a page related to this title. (if page "smart phone" already exists, then simply select it.)
Or if you want to create it, you can choose to create it either as a:
- new page
Notion will auto-complete it and wrap it up in closing brackets like this:
The Power of Backlinks
Connections between pages is a nice feature, but the real power of links across pages is when there are automatic backlinks created.
To follow our example, when you are in the page
and you create a new link such as
[[smart phone]], once you open the page
smart phone you'll see a section at the top that shows you backlinks.
How Is This Useful?
This makes it easy for you to navigate pages that are related without having to create manual links in every single page.
This might not seems like a lot, but when you start building a massive knowledge base, backlinks make a difference, they allow fast navigation and interconnection of ideas.
Notion is Following Other Apps Connections Style
Roam Research has gained a reputation as the most powerful knowledge based system around. It supports this double bracket
[[ syntax to create effortless links.
For reasons that I'll capture in a separate blog-post, I think a tool like Obsidian is a much better alternative.
Obsidian is a powerful knowledge base app which gives you ownership of your notes.
The most powerful features of Obsidian are:
- Effortless linking between files
- Next level backlinks system
- Visual representation of connections
The syntax used for connection between files is also
[[. Notion is adapting to this popular syntax, which makes it more compatible for those of us who work across several apps.
When Should You Use Notion Instead Of Another App?
When it comes to a powerful knowledge base, or a zettelkasten (an interconnected system of ideas). It's important to choose a platform that allows growth without clutter of notes.
It's because of this that I encourage people to use a tool such as Obsidian, where you can own all of your files, and create connections in a much more meaningful way.
Notion vs Obsidian
Obsidian is not a replacement to Notion. One of the most important aspects of a productivity system is to know when to use different tools, and to identify which platforms align with your goals, ambitions and values.
Help With Your System
Whether you are a content creator (or want to be one) or you have a creative project you are working on, a powerful system is invaluable.
Your system is the place is where your thoughts connect to build new ideas, where your work advances to the next level.
If you want help figuring out how to build or improve your creative system.