Clues from the Cluetrain Manifesto

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Besides the fact that Chapter 4 was relatively straightforward, this chapter appealed to me the most.  It was quick, to the point, and profound in a way that doesn’t require 42 pages that basically re-state the same analysis over and over (Chapter 5, I’m looking at you).   

Chapter 4 breaks down why the Internet has been so successful, and will continue to do so: it gives people an open forum for communication.  As the authors say, again and again and again, the Internet has allowed people to communicate in ways that big business did not approve, predict, or sponsor: with cut-throat honesty, biting humor, and instant response time that blows the doors off any formulaic, corporate prepared response. 

One particularly insightful quote the authors close the chapter with is “By listening, marketing will re-learn how to talk.”  This is absolutely true. 

The only way for businesses to deal with the changing world of the Internet Revolution is to also experience change.  Although Steve Sloan points out the Cluetrain Manifesto has been slow to manifest itself in the market, we can see the changes on the horizon.  Many websites offer customers the opportunity to not only rate their products/performance/news coverage, they are now offering customers free reign to comment right on the page, a sort of isolated blog.  Using this, companies can change themselves in new ways to fit what their customers are demanding right this second.  And it won’t take organization charts and Power Point presentations to do it: change can now happen at Internet speed, which the authors peg down to about 7 times normal speed. 

Speaking of which, I wish we had asked David Weinberger what he would say Internet speed is now.  Since he and his co-authors wrote Cluetrain, technology has changed dramatically, which brings me to my overall review of the book: very interesting and thought provoking, but it needs a revision to be completely relevant, and their editor did not do them any favors by giving them what looks to be free rein.  This book could be boiled down to some really crucial content if the redundancy was edited out.        

Final thoughts: The mention of Quake in Chapter 5 was a total blast from the past, and these guys really hate organization charts, but they must have an amazingly accurate crystal ball, because many of their predications are coming true before our very eyes.    

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One Response to “Clues from the Cluetrain Manifesto”

  1. Cynthia McCune Says:

    Good comments, but double-check the meaning of reign vs. rein. “Free rein” is an equestrian term, literally when the rider loosens the reins and lets a horse move freely without restraint.

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