Read and Learn: The Cluetrain Manifesto

The Cluetrain Manifesto, by Rick Levine, Christopher Locke, Doc Searls and David Weinberger, is rather popular with the higher education web community, and has been for a long time. The book has been heralding the “end of business as usual” for more than 10 years now. When I saw that a tenth anniversary edition had been published in 2011, I knew it was time to dive in.

The book begins with the 95 Theses of the Cluetrain Manifesto. These range from “markets are conversations” to “companies need to lighten up and take themselves less seriously” to “to speak with a human voice, companies must share the concerns of their communities.” Even though these theses are more than 10 years old, they still ring true today. This book is all about how the Internet – and the connections it enables – has changed business.

I was challenged by many of the authors’ exhortations, such as:

– Speak in a human voice.
– Get it out there first, don’t wait until it’s perfect.
– Tell the truth.
– Build communities.
– Open up and let people see what’s really going on.

If you’ve read Seth Godin, Eric Karjulato or any number of other writers, you’ll notice similar threads as you read this book. As soon as the Internet was born, real conversations opened up online. Instead of reading official publications and corporate manuals, people began sharing experiences and opinions rather freely. The authors call for companies and the people who run the companies to stop hiding behind sanitized press releases and shiny brochures. They want the real people inside, whether executives or worker bees, to come out and play. Now get out there!