"Too Late," © Josef F. Stuefer
This is the first in a four part series examining the use of blogs to open communications between consumers and companies in genealogy. In this part we will introduce the Cluetrain Manifesto. Part two will present relevant points from the Manifesto. In part three we'll examine the official blogs of Ancestry and FamilySearch. In the fourth and final installment, we'll talk about employee bloggers.
The Cluetrain Manifesto
I found the Cluetrain Manifesto nailed to the door of The Church of Employee Bloggers. The list of 95 theses is a 1999 prophecy regarding the "conversation" between markets (consumers) and companies.
The manifesto prophesied that consumers would form such strong online communities that companies would be forced to open honest, candid lines of communication between individual consumers and individual employees. Companies that didn't would perish. The more controversial parts of the manifesto further reasoned that strong intranet organized employees would make hierarchical management unprofitable and obsolete.
While some of the theses have not stood the test of time, others still seem to be true, six years later. Some ring particularly true for employee bloggers.
Road kill on the Information Highway
The name of the manifesto comes from a statement made by "a veteran of a firm now free-falling out of the Fortune 500."
The clue train stopped there four times a day for ten years and they never took delivery.
The Cluetrain Manifesto started as a website. The ringleaders, as they call themselves, explain that "when we created Cluetrain.com in April, 1999, it kicked up some dust. A few thousand people signed their endorsement of the ideas. Lots of email, lots of press coverage." The website led to a book which is now available online.
The manifesto hit a chord for many. The comment of one signer echoes the feelings of many. "I'm blown away. Floored. Bowled over. The manifesto rocks."
The manifesto also garnered its share of criticism. John C. Dvorak, a popular columnist for PC Magazine, said the book's authors "managed to capture in one book almost all of the lunatic fringe dingbat thinking that characterized the Internet boom."
Next week we'll look at some of the theses so you can make your own conclusions.