Tag Archives: cluetrain

Response#7 Most Surprising Thing About Social Media Class . . .

It has to be that the sheen of our web 2.0 world is a little faded from in 2007-2008 when I started and withdrew from a similar class. When I first read Shirky in mid-2008, I felt what it must have felt like to read Cluetrain Manifesto in 1999.  His was the kind of theoretical approach to the Brave New World of social media that I was both in awe of and excited to see how the world could change because of this medium that thrived in spite of traditional hinderance of money and resources.  I appreciated the case studies because they were largely around the frame of us, the users of the world, as global underdog that could take down theft safely behind laptops, almost shift the balance of power in entrenched political machines, and take down one of the world’s most powerful religious institutions.  Shirky in explaining the force of the many to many,  pitted us (the aggregate collaborators) versus powerful though narrowly focused institutions.

I wasn’t foolish to think that social media would mean a kind of perpetual digital revolution (Mao by way of Google), or that the kind of global realignment Shirky writes about would happen 15 months after he declared it, but maybe I hoped I was wrong.  The Obama campaign or Graff’s, ‘First Campaign’ may be the culprit in skewing my perception that campaign forced tradition media to wake up and take a gigantic leap forward. Tommaso Sorchiotti’s slideshare presentation aptly and comically depicts this.  The quixotic narrative of 2008 Presidential cycle lifted the resurrection narrative of the power of the web and vice versa.  Both are a bit of mythology of course, I do think that ascendance of the Obama campaign and the side-story of their online strategy made the most compelling argument for the power of social media.  But its 2009 almost 20-10, and I am left with thinking:

What’s Next?

All new media tools herald a new dawn in how we communicate but eventually it falls victim to the tragedy of the commons, right? I guess I thought the villian of this tragedy would be some lone-gunman type and not MSM or the social media tools themselves.   Social media, web 2.0 tools, and their companies are no different. Google, who could do no wrong in my book two years go has become just another company that is doing what it can to bend reality to its own creepy interests.  Twitter just saw its ultimate social potential when it was the go-to medium of reporting Iran elections protests by the US government no less and yet it bothers me that Ashton Kutcher has more followers than NPR.  When AIG has an RSS feed, it makes me want to stock my house with canned goods and wait for the Mayan Prophesy.  I am not saying that social media and web 2.0 tools have jumped the shark, just that we still seem to have made this leap and no one really knows what is next. Web 3.0 and the semantic web is probably years if not a decade away.  We are in this grey area where these tools are being actively adopted by the media institutions like the Washington Post and the New York Times not because it generates revenue, but because it seems the only way to stay above mere relevancy.   Perhaps I thought in a web 2.0 world, Moore’s Law applied to social change as well as computing speed.  And maybe it does, but it doesn’t feel like we’ve culturally reached even a tenth of the journey to critical mass.  Perhaps this still an odd time to look back on the last six to ten years of the web 2.0 social media explosion and study it as you would artifacts.  It’s no longer new, yet we haven’t reached the point in this journey where we are closer to the end than the beginning.  Then again, there is something to Shirky’s notion that technology doesn’t get socially interesting until it becomes technologically boring, and this world of many to many communications isn’t boring yet.


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Response#2: Personal Rise of Fake Wealth

Readwriteweb gives an interesting breakdown by Bernard Lunn of two web 2.0 giants Twitter and Facebook recent infusion of investment capital.  I recently started keeping track of my own stock portfolio, by way of my brother who handles most of that stuff.  I am actually using the original stock tracker App on the Iphone and it is strange how the day by day fluctuations of stock prices, particularly Apple (my only stock winner) fascinate me to no end.  The money I had initially handed over to my brother to invest is real but the value of the Apple stock has doubled since then so I have ostensibly fake wealth that I can’t directly get to.

If Facebook ever makes an IPO, I want to be there to pick up a share or hundred because it apparently is turning a profit and while the company’s ad revenue is sure to stabilize as it expands into the less lucrative international markets, I agree with Lunn’s accessment that if there is a bubble 2.0, Facebook will like not fall victim to it.  I know it’s a leap, but is strikes me that what has become the Blogger/Twitter model of sticking it out until you get bought out that Ev Williams stumbled into, and that has become the developer wet dream is not unlike the picking a long-term stock for the next big company and hoping that some day the value of the stock will be high enough that someone wants to buy it off you.  The question I have is, in the stock market, people tend to buy stocks with the expectation that the monetary value will increase not the cultural value (i.e. Twitter).  We are entering an age where the ‘cultural capital’ of social media is gaining more clout over of financial capital, but its even detached from the idea of the market articulated in Cluetrain, as what has value is not actual stuff, but digital representations of stuff.  Markets are quite literally conversations, a bazaar of ideas and not items. More to come. -n


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Response#1: 95 Theses are better than 17?

Cluetrain‘s  95 Theses projected a new world order that in 1999 came eerily close to what we have today.  But why the wink-n-nod to Martin Luther? Can anything be more pretentious than comparing the internet revolution to the Protestant Reformation? I’m trying to convince myself that high-irony is a fine art, but what’s the difference between pretension and high-irony if you still sound like a jackass?  A cursory scan of the 95 dispels that the reference was anything but coincidental.

34. To speak with a human voice, companies must share the concerns of their communities. 35. But first, they  must belong to a community.-Really? That couldn’t be one sentence? ‘Companies must belong to and share the concerns of a community’.

Did the authors really need to dice up their theses to make the magic Martin Luther number? No. But this doesn’t diminish how spot on their 95 Theses are in totality: that the many-to-many conversations the internet and social media trade in is the new paradigm that business must adapt to or likely fail.

Wikipedia’s post on CM breaks it up into eight sections, which to me might be overkill. Also, I don’t agree with its numeric sectioning.  My take:

  1. Markets are Conversations (1, 38, 39, 40, 61, 62, 63)
  2. Markets Consist of Human Beings (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 33)
  3. These new markets are getting smarter (9, 10, 11, 12, 30)
  4. The False Construct of Business (13, 14, 15, 59, 60)
  5. The Company’s Dilemma (20, 21, 22)
  6. Hyperlinks Subvert Hierarchy (7, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56)
  7. The Fallacy of the Corporate ‘Voice’ (16, 17, 18, 19)
  8. The Company must speak in a human voice (31, 32)
  9. The Company is Talking and Not Listening (23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28)
  10. The Company must question their false construct (36, 37, 41, 42)
  11. The Company must talk to themselves and to us (8, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48)
  12. The Company is there but the new Customer is here (71, 71)
  13. The Smart Company Should . . . (57, 58)
  14. These New Customers Expect More (64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70)
  15. The New Customer Can’t be tamed (74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86)
  16. This is what the new Customer wants from the Company (87, 88, 89, 90)
  17. Companies need to shape up or customers will find someone who will listen (91, 92, 93, 94, 95)

29-Was omitted (because it’s dumb though it could be clumped with Thesis 7)

The 10th anniversary ‘addition’ brings down some of the high-minded Lutheran references to earth though Locke has managed to have grown more pop-apocalyptic and egotistical in ‘Obedient Poodles for God and Country.’  And the Web did become more than what companies and the media thought it was in 1999, but they also found ways to game the Web (Google Ads, Bing, etc).

P.S. Any significance to number 17? Yes mathematically, culturally, and in sports.  But I came to it arbitrarily. Or did I? -ns

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The Cluetrain Manifesto–1st Thoughts

When the Cluetrain Manifesto came out in April of 1999, it was as pretentious as it was visionary.  Released right on the heels of Wachowski Brothers cinematic manifesto, the Matrix, CM probably had more than its share of followers in black leather trenchcoats with Morpheus-like IM handles. Playing to this niche audience is the only explanation I have for opening the 1999 version with Chris Locke’s meandering sometimes unreadable new age discourse (‘Internet Apocalypso’).  If I were in PR then and picked up this book, Locke’s metaphysical dissertation laden with pop-culture and pop-history references, would make me wonder if the patients had taken over the asylum at Perseus Books. That said, if I were reading this online, as it was originally presented, I think I would have told everyone I knew about it, perhaps even wallpapering my dorm walls with the 95 theses (point of order: I may or may not had a black leather trenchcoat in my dorm closet, and I may or may not have been known as Erebus.). Next up: 95 Theses

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