Tags Vs Links for the Best "Second Brain" Effect

I’ve been reading “How to Take Smart Notes” and it’s clear to me that internal referenences are where the “second brain” effect really kicks in for Dynalist.

I’m 3 months into using Dynalist, but not yet taking full advantage of the interconnectedness necessary to use the full potential of this amazing program.

I.e, when you create a new note and look for which notes to connect it to, the preexisting connections between old notes will lead you to more notes than you would get by memory or search alone.

With that in mind, how do you choose to create internal references in your Dynalist?

I don’t quite understand whether to use tags or links to do this - which works better?

What is the use case for each?

Any responses much appreciated!

If you care about connections (rather than hierarchy) I highly suggest trying to learn the developers newer app, Obsidian. Obsidian is “second brain” linked wiki style (with some weak heirachy). Dynalist is strict hierarchy style (with some weak wiki elements).

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Tags are a search that filters your list down to only include items with the tag (and the ancestors).

Internal links zoom you into a node.

So they’re very different things, one isn’t better than the other. If you’re referencing something, you should type [[ to bring up the link dialog.

I was thinking this might come up ha ha…thanks for the recommedation, I’ll look into it more. Nice to know this is the use case for Obsidian…

Thank you, this makes sense about using links for references

So I’ve been using Obsidian in addition to using Dynalist; anyone else do that?

If so, what’s your use case for each tool?

I used to, but I moved from Obsidian to Notion. They’re basically the same, but Notion doesn’t make you look at markdown code.

I use Dynalist for tasks that can be summarized in 1 sentence. They go in at the top via Google Assistant (with my voice, from anywhere in my house). Then I use the ‘move’ hotkey to send them to a category and priority. g1 means important groceries. w3 means unimportant work stuff. t5 means thoughts that I just want to archive. At the bottom of the g1 list is g2, so they’re nested in each other. So when I expand, I deal with the important things first until it’s empty, then move on to the next level.

I use Notion (formerly Obsidian) for everything that’s more than a sentence - thinks that are too big and overwhelming to be in dynalist. Things that are real long term projects. I generally write them out an essay form using the voice to dictate button on my MacBook. I make extensive use of [[ links to generate new sub pages. This lets me drill into projects at my leisure.

A rant - I do not do “knowledge management”, on principle. There’s no such thing as a second-brain, you have one brain. Taking linked notes you create yourself is great, because you’re synthesizing it from your whole brain, but collecting and curating bits of information is not great, that’s just re-inventing the internet. I consider it hoarding and a timewaster. I think people who do it are confusing knowledge with information. They’re the type of personality who gets pleasure from collecting every pokemon - I get the motivation, I just don’t see it as effective in life. Knowledge needs to be thought about first and foremost, not collected compulsively. I post all of my knowledge to internet forums, stack overflow, quora, etc, and contribute it to wikipedia, etc. It’s easily googled or looked up in ebooks along with the rest of the whole of humanity’s knowledge when I need it. The public internet is the proper place for tidbit knowledge, not my personal notebooks. Those are for creativity.

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Really interesting take on PKM apps and how you use them. As I write a lot, collecting and curating bits of info is exactly what I do, but the hoarding thing has always been an issue. These apps have reduced the friction to collecting info so now it’s growing even faster. Hence my research on using this more efficiently.

I seem to use dynalist mostly for getting things done/project management and outlining content. Obsidian so far is…well let’s just say I have some work to do before I start to realize the full power of the “[[”. So far I have just inputed notes on two books in there.

I appreciate your thoughtful responses.

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