2006 - The Cluetrain Manifesto Revisited

7 years after the first publication of the Cluetrain Manifesto the skies start to clear up again and for the first time in 5 years the tinytalk
editorial office and the TinyTalk scientific department after much discussion dare to repeat their erstwhile diagnosis: The manifesto form (including the most famous one) is bullshit and gurus err, all the time, if only slightly but still gravely sometimes.

An explanation: When first reading this particular one we first were exited and happy. To bring a more humane and dialogue oriented culture to industry and markets, was that not one of our wishes exactly? Only when we saw how fast many interpreters of it used it for pretension and how fast it became an BSB dropping thing and led people to try false stuff did we become disappointed and started to think about what was wrong. Our (still preliminary) guess is, manifestos destroy differentiation. The Communist Manifesto did that more than 150 years ago and many more did so in the time inbetween.

Let's have a look now:

1. Markets are not conversations. Communications they are, but conversations they are definitely not. Conversations take place in real Bazaars. Nobody talks back to Google in an even way. What the term "markets" means today is not what markets and bazaars and trade fairs used to be in some past. You talk to the universe, machines talk to machines, some conservative powerful guys in Asia, Africa and South America get the numbers on paper and fix by handshake still, traders hit computer keys or smartphone buttons, the universe and transistor clusters talk back. Google AI, come on, analyze that!

2. Markets consist of human beings, not demographic sectors. But, no matter what, demographic sectors can be called markets in many ways. Some products profit from being individualized but most people in most field prefer standardized ware. Human beings are not stupid enough to self organize into markets, only half conscious large groups of people are. Humans organize into more complex and holistic things where ever more stuff but by far not every thing is handled why abstracted exchange. Market practice is only one aspect.

3. Conversations among human beings sound human. They are conducted in a human voice. That's correct in many ways but increasingly incorrect in others. It also has nothing to do with a clue or a train or whatever, it is mostly trivial phrase to say. If "human" should be understood as the opposite of "juridical", "administrative" or "governmental", we doubt it helps, because a) that would be loaded with ideology and b) would lawyers, administrators and the government then be non-human. In the future and science fiction that might be the case but not right now on this planet.

4. Whether delivering information, opinions, perspectives, dissenting arguments or humorous asides, the human voice is typically open, natural, uncontrived. Until now the human voice has not played a large role on the internet. The human voice has gone to mobile telephony so far. When it will come to the net, big time communications companies will start to go bankrupt. Where it is on the net it means writers think radio will make them more famous and people talking from person to person want to avoid stupid roaming fees. If easier to understand modern sentences are meant, it is not about proliferation of more "humanized" writing by everybody but about better work of marketing communications specialists.

5. People recognize each other as such from the sound of this voice. People recognize each other as such from extremely complex sets of cognition and subliminal stuff including the very important aspect of sound. Voices can easily be emulated by impersonators. On the net humans recognize each other from letter-combinations such as nicknames, IRL-names, IRL-, e-mail- and messenger-addresses, telephone numbers and other ASCII and UTF-encode IDs.

6. The Internet is enabling conversations among human beings that were simply not possible in the era of mass media.
The internet is reinforcing cmmunications among human beings that were quite ubiquitous in the area of the newspaper, the telephone and the radio but not very visible. In the era of print people spent more money on letters than on magazines, newspapers and books. In the era of radio and television they spent more money on telephone calls than on both media combined. The difference is that the conversations meant were considered private and not public. Electronic media and especially networking computers, be they big or small, and granting everybody access to them, are tearing down the boundaries of private and public that print had built up over the centuries and years from 1450 to 1877.

7. Hyperlinks subvert hierarchy. Hyperlinks constitute complex new hierarchies and dependencies.

8. In both internetworked markets and among intranetworked employees, people are speaking to each other in a powerful new way. Internetworked markets make internetworked employees write and say things the confusedness of which was unimaginable a mere 30 years ago.

9. These networked conversations are enabling powerful new forms of social organization and knowledge exchange to emerge. Computer networked conversations enable resimplified social imagos and the exchange of awkward sexual snippetry to emerge.

10. As a result it gets boring to continue this list.

PS: Don't get us wrong, but sorry, media ecology is a tiny bit more complicated than that.

PPS: RoR is not the only solution on the planet, girls!

last updated: 08.04.18 18:48

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