The Cluetrain Manifesto: The End of Business as Usual

This book is the second book I’ve read that includes the word “Manifesto”. The first book was Manifest der Kommunistischen Partei in German, in English Manifesto of the Communist Party which was written by Karl Marx and Frederich Engels. That book contains theories about the class differences, or the exploitation of proletarian class by another class, are the motivating force behind all historical developments. The Manifesto argues that this development is inevitable. And that will be the only point that it reminds me the Cluetrain Manifesto.

Book is written by the pioneers of Web 2.0. In 1999, the Cluetrain Manifesto authors though the Internet as the source of a radical transformation. They believed that through internet new methods of communication will emerge which will eventually make the corporations more transparent to the customers. Who can say that they were not right?

There are lots of thesis and titles in this book. I won’t go over them one by one. What I will do is to analyze some quotes in the book, every paragraph is another chapter from the book.

“We die. Life is too short, we say and it is. Things change and change is often painful”.  The title of this chapter is Internet Apocalypso which reminds me: everything would be destroyed first and then there would be a new beginning. The topic of this chapter actually focused on life rather than internet as it is suggested in the title. This chapter states that the internet has a positive physiological implication to the people. In a way, the chapter implies that internet would help a man to solve his day to day challenge and worries easily. It is mentioned that some busineses avoid using internet which is understandable. It may give corporations a huge power over their employees or it may take their power away. Who wants to be transparent in front of public? Internet is able to speak if it is used more properly. After the invention of social sites I believe that people are more comfortable talking and setting meetings (even with their friends) via these tools.

What is the major use of internet, why people are so dependant on it and how can internet communicate? Those questions are answered in The Longing title. I am dependant on internet very much. When I do not have internet at home, I fell like I should sleep because there is nothing else to do. It is true that people are starting to become too dependent on the internet but how can we not? Everything runs via internet both personal and in the corporational level. This chapter mentions, how people are free with internet, they can state their opinions with no hesitation and while doing this they also have the ability to let (rest of the world actually) others know what they feel, what are their thoughts.

“Some people apply a craftsmanlike care to their work, and their voices are heard, remarked upon, and recognized as uniquely theirs the Web is no different. Every Web page we see has a person behind it”. After I’ve read that sentence I cannot get it out of my mind. Whenever, I discover another website I began to imagine what kind of person created it. What does s/he look like? There are a lot of communication tools that could be use in the internet and each of them are discussed in this chapter. In addition to that, the chapter gets our attention to the importance of customer service and how some firms are reluctant to provide this because they think it is another expense. I appreciate the companies who anticipated the importance of customer service long before this book or the invention of internet. By the way does anyone remember how people used to communicate without internet? I do not.

“On the internet, markets are getting more connected and more powerfully vocal everyday. These markets want to talk”, “It’s nothing new, in one sense. The only advertising that was ever truly effective was word of mouth, which is nothing more than conversation”. Now, blogging, online forums, social networking websites, they are all on the service of the most effective advertising tool, WoM. If companies target the right people and get them talk about their brand or products in internet they would be able to achieve awareness problem. It is amazing actually; it does not depend on high or low involvement products. When I moved to US, it was essential to buy a car. However, I was in US and I had no idea what to buy, I wanted to buy VW which I used to drive. However, after I “talked” with the American friends that I have not ever seen, I ended up buying a Toyota which considered being more reliable in US. Market talked with me in a sense that it changed my daily habits as well as bigger commitments in some brands (like VW).

Hyperlinked organizations, what does it mean? It does not mean hyperlink itself that we see in the websites. What I understand from that (after reading the chapter of course) is the communication among employees keeps the organization together and connected. Corporations communicate. Actually it is that simple. In this 5th chapter, I was very surprised from the language of the author. I understood that, he was trying to make me angry towards companies because they are taking advantage of customers via advertisements. I both agree and disagree with that statement. First of all, people have brains. It is not very easy to manipulate “a reasonable person” if s/he is not willing to. I said a reasonable person, because marketing strategies, advertisements are all done by considering what a reasonable person will think of this ad? And secondly, people consume sometimes in vain sometimes because it is necessary, when we think of Maslow’s hierarchy there are psychological reasons to our consumption habits. If we are to consume anyway, why not buy chocolate x rather than chocolate y, because we liked their advertisement? Do not say, it is just chocolate, let’s look at a higher commitment. How and who would it harm me buying a Toyota instead of VW? There are some cases that some firms really overstep the line (this part is where I agree) but it is business ethics’ people’s job to judge them and generalizing does not suit this book.
In this chapter, I liked the part that it mentions deadlines which I believe this habit should be gained us by our professors. If they were not so strict and illogical about the assignments and deadlines the future managers would not be so harsh about it. After all, we practice what we learn! Hello, people have a life aside from school and jobs!

“Mass production led to mass marketing, which led to (ta-da!) mass media”. What I learned from this chapter is, internet is so influential and powerful therefore man cannot control it. I really wish internet belonged to me (which reminds me George Orwell’s book big brother). If I owned the internet it would basically mean I would have power around or on the world.  Then I understand the reason why intranet is created, people need privacy and intranet is a closed door but still a part of the big picture, internet. Internet is for everyone to use and utilize it.

Post Apocalypso Era:
Internet is not just communication it is a way of people’s expressions finding other people. We are not always able to express our thoughts in real world because there are written and unwritten rules. It does not mean internet has no rules, of course it does. But it is easier to connect with other people. Internet is not one person and therefore it does not have any goal to achieve. Every people who use internet have their own ideas which makes “internet” as it is today.

Development is inevitable and resistance is expectable. In Manifesto of the Communist Party, the writers said “we shall have an association, in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all”. May be you won’t agree with me but I think roughly, internet is that association which have the ability for free development both for individuals and for corporations.  


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This entry was posted on November 12, 2011 by in cluetrain, internet, intranet, manifesto, social media and tagged , , , , .
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