I was kind of a nerd in high school (shocker, I know) and I was constantly reading books on technology and business. One of the ones that I found fascinating at the time was The Cluetrain Manifesto, which asserted that the Internet is a global conversation that allows consumers to break down barriers and subvert hierarchies, making them faster and smarter than the companies trying to sell to them. This was the late 90s, at the height of the bubble, so everything related to how the Internet was going to change business was heralded as brilliant and flew off the shelves. Then the bubble burst and opinion swung the other way for awhile, leaving things like the Cluetrain Manifesto in a dusty bin at the local Goodwill. That’s where I come in.
I love to read science fiction, and I usually just buy paperbacks from the Goodwill down the street, read them, and then donate them back. A few weeks ago, I was there browsing and I stumbled across a copy of the Cluetrain Manifesto. Remembering vaguely that I had really enjoyed it the first time, I flipped through it for a few minutes. I was immediately struck by how relevant it sounds today. It reads like it was written for 2009, not 1999. We’re right in the middle of the “social media” craze and businesses are scrambling to try and determine how to use things like Twitter and Facebook to accomplish their business objectives. More than ever, the market actually is a global conversation. I decided to do a blog series on the book and how it applies to social media marketing in 2009.
Here’s the basic premise of the book:
“A powerful global conversation has begun. Through the Internet, people are discovering and inventing new ways to share relevant knowledge with blinding speed. As a direct result, markets are getting smarter and getting smarter faster than most companies.”
The book is organized into 95 theses, which can be broken down roughly into eight groups. In the coming series, we’ll cover all of these groups and bring you examples of companies who have done it right, and others who still don’t get it. Make sure you grab our feed to get updates as we go!
PS – If you have any thoughts or memories of reading the Cluetrain Manifesto back in the day, post them in the comments!