My Journey with Roam Research
Every other month, Tech Twitter finds a brand new note-taking application that is clearly better than all others. However, about once a year there is a king of Note-Taking applications. Last year it was Notion and this year it is Roam Research.
As an observer of this community, I saw my feed getting clogged with Roam Research tweets by early adopters such as Nat Eliason. I was conflicted. On one hand I was pretty excited that there was this cool new app to play around with and build my second brain.
However deep inside there was havoc. I had spent precious time building my second brain in Notion and now the tribe leaves for Roam Research. However there was this quote that came to mind. In the world of Personal Knowledge Management and building a Second Brain, there is a popular saying, “All roads lead to Roam”. So I trekked along.
Roam was harder to learn than Notion as there were no templates, just a blank screen with the tag of today’s date. I searched the internet for ways to use Roam and stumbled upon lots of blogs but only a few videos made by a guy named Shu Omi. He has lots of great videos with tons of ways to use Roam. In my exploration of Roam, I found reports of its pricing model and data loss issues. That was it. The end of my Roam journey. After taking a staggering 100 words of notes, my journet had ended. As a Student I could not afford the $15 per month price tag of this cool new note-taking application and that coupled with the many issues that it had in the Beta stage ended my Roam career. I jumped into the Roam bandwagon ignorant of the hole which leaves behind those who can’t afford Roam.
That was in early March and now the gates of Roam are closed. Roam has closed it’s beta program because of producitivty guru Thomas Frank who broke Roam by making it too popular. Roam experienced a surge of new user after Thomas uploaded a video about it. Although Roam is currently free at the time of writing this article, it has been announced that it will move towards a premium plan for the beta.
Once the premium plan comes around. That will be final string that will cut me from my dreams of a personal knowledge database/todo-list/project-management all in one mega back linked application. Or is it?
(Cue Hype music)
Turns out Roam is not the only life wiki available. There are a tons of open source life wiki applications available such as TiddlyWiki, DocuWiki, Trilium, ikiwiki, Athens, Obsidian, Zim, Org-roam (Emacs) and Zettlr. The community which surrounds some of these softwares are huge and have been around for years. That was a huge surprise for me. Roam Research has showed us that there is not only roads leading to Roam but also out of it.
I decided to start with TiddlyWiki and I will update my journey along the way with blog posts and YouTube videos about what I have learned and how to download this software. TiddlyWiki is quite difficult to understand at first since all the information is in blog posts and google group discussions instead of more visual platforms such as YouTube.
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