A decade ago, four men crafted their own 95 Theses railing against the inhumanity of global conglomerates and nailed them on the Internet at cluetrain.com.
The statements, part of a document known as the Cluetrain Manifesto (which later became a book), took issue with the callousness of our corporations, their failure to be human. For years, these behemoths doled out “products” for “consumption” by “target markets,” and lost sight of the fact that consumers are people, too.
They lost the ability to speak to us, to touch us. Instead, they just ticked us off and did not seem to mind doing so.
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 Cluetrain Manifesto
Today, those statements decrying the ills of corporate society are ever more applicable, as companies grow bigger and colder.
We are now witnessing the folly of that behavior.
Social media have shifted the power to us, the “people of earth” to whom the manifesto’s authors called in their straightforward, sensible statement of humanity. The manifesto derives its power from the fact that these four — Rick Levine, Christopher Locke, Doc Searls, and David Weinberger — had been movers and shakers among those in the ivory towers. They were not yelling into the wind; some of the ears above heard the call.
As I read through the 10th anniversary edition, it seems our news media could learn much from this manifesto: Reconnect with the community. Listen to the people. Join with them to solve your community’s problems.
Communication is no longer one-way. People do not have to consume your demographically-precise, poll-tested messages.
As the first thesis reminds us: “Markets are conversations.” Will news organizations join in?