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Hey everyone,

So Notion announced yesterday that they're introducing backlinks!

For the uninitiated, Roam Research (Notion's strong competitor) has built a cult (yes, they actually call it the Roam Cult) basis the power of backlinks. Now it isn't just 2-way links that makes Roam so popular but the consequent features (e.g. Knowledge graph) that are built on top of it.

Not just Roam, but there are other apps like Obsidian, MyMind & TiddlyWiki that take a similar approach and are considered a league apart from the traditional note-taking tools.

Notion is going head-on with Roam by taking the 1st step in offering backlinks. 1st step because even Notion acknowledges that there's a lot to be built on top of this.

But the makers of Roam Research clearly aren't so happy 😂

Keen to hear what the community has to say about this 👂

Quick Primer on Backlinks

When you link to a page, it's a one-way pointer that doesn't have any information from the referring page. That's how most links work.

However, bi-directional links are 2-way connections where you have your classic link and a backlink (with additional context) to the referring page. So, if you add a link to page B in page A, page B will show that it has a backlink from page A.


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    We're power Notion users at my company. Having said that, I can't believe founders who can pull off such stylish looks like these feel threatened by Notion 😂

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      Haha, they look like they are on their way to perform at a rock concert!

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        Haha, true 😅

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        Backlinks are interesting, but I don't think they are new. We've had them in Kitemaker for a long time and I can't imagine this was an 'invention' at the time.

        What I think is interesting is that backlinks allow you to create a graph connecting information. That is the edge Roam has over Notion, and what is really needed as information easily gets spread across folders and tools and hopeless to find (like search doesn't really work efficiently in Slack or any document tools, right?)

        It is also where we want to take our tool in the context of discussions, tasks, and plans, but instead of keeping everything in one tool, we want to do it through integrations :)

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          Absolutely. I think TiddlyWiki did it long time back, in 2004. Just that Roam's implementation of backlinks is great (or so I read, never really tried it out extensively).

          That's really cool. I didn't know Kitemaker has backlinks, I am going to check that out. You guys have implemented some of the coolest features I know - hotkeys & backlinks :-)

          Would also love to hear your experience with Roam once you try it out for a few days/ weeks. I'm also going to use it for my writing (posts/ blogs) and see how it goes.

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          I'm really impressed with how Notion is taking shape. I can now see personal portfolios, blogs, and even entire websites being built using Notion. And with this new backlink feature, we are going to see mainstream adoption of Notion.

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            I think Notion is already a lot mainstream. But this is just them upping their game now.

            Plus I am amazed at the # of note-taking apps being made right now 🤷‍♂️

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            Roam superfan here, and former Notion user. I think both are great products and there's no reason for Conor to feel upset or threatened by Notion adding backlinks. Why wouldn't they? Just keep doing your thing, and don't sweat the competition. Notion is going after a very different user than Roam. This is no different than if added inline scheduling or something. I would expect Rahul Vohra to give zero fucks even though Superhuman did it first and probably better.

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              True, both products target a different audience & have some non-overlapping use-cases. Which makes me curious as to what you used Notion for, earlier, and why you stopped using it altogether?

              I was also planning to start a new post discussing note-taking apps. Would you like to kick off that thread? It would be nice to hear your thoughts on how both these tools/ approaches compare and maybe a short Loom (review) video too 😉