“There’s no market for messages”
One thing has become readily apparent to me: Most social media communicators, “personal brands” (snort) and social media experts have neglected to read the Cluetrain Manifesto. Whether you agree with the principles in this book or not, in my mind it should be mandatory reading for anyone who conducts business communications on the Internet.
Many a social media consultant or online communicator have confided in me that they have not read the Cluetrain Manifesto. To me that’s as unforgivable as practicing law without a J.D. or practicing medicine without going to medical school and internships.
Cluetrain captures the essence of the uncontrolled business environment and they need to provide authentic, real dialogue based around the market’s needs. Without understand the fundamental dynamics of the social media form and the inherently uncontrived conversations it inspires, communicators are lost in the darkness.
At bare minimum communicators should read the opening salvo of 95 theses that comprise the Cluetrain Manifesto, Christopher Locke‘s chapter, “Internet Apocalypso, and Doc Searls and David Weinberger‘s contribution, “Markets Are Conversations.”
It get backs to community concepts which are at the heart of Now Is Gone. In many ways, Now Is Gone is the direct product of the Internet and Cluetrain’s unrelenting view that controlled and contrived business brand messages — personal or corporate — have no place on the Internet. Consider the boiled down thesis of the book and its seven principles of community development.
For me Cluetrain represents a great hope: That business can be done differently. The Internet and social media can become the elixir to revolutionize our corporate cultures of exploitation, and refocus it on social good, causes, and service to actual markets.
One of the reasons the whole personal branding movement disturbs me is that most personal branders are in actuality exploiting these tools to foster a new conversational, self-centered hucksterism that makes me sick. It’s not genuine or real, and I don’t want any part of it. Add your genuine personality to the conversation, not a contrived self image.
Here are my favorite 10 of the 95 theses from Cluetrain:
3) Conversations among human beings sound human. They are conducted in a human voice.
25) Companies need to come down from their Ivory Towers and talk to the people with whom they hope to create relationships.
26) Public relations does not relate to the public. Companies are deeply afraid of their markets.
33) Learning to speak with a human voice is not a parlor trick. It can’t be “picked up” at some tony conference.
34) To speak in a human voice, companies must share the concerns of their communities.
35) But first they must belong to a community.
61) Sadly, the part of the company a networked market wants to talk to is usually hidden behind a smokescreen of hucksterism, of language that rings false — and often is.
62) marketers do not want to talk to flacks and hucksters. They want to participate in the conversations going on behind the corporate firewall.
83) We want you to take 50 million of us as seriously as you take one reporter from THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
91) Our allegiance is to ourselves — our friends, our new allies and acquaintances, even our sparring partners. Companies that have no part in this world, also have no future.