Have You Heard Of “The Cluetrain Manifesto”?…The Cluetrain Who?

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Each week, as I go about my day, I’m amazed at how often I stumble upon material I find to be both profound and worth sharing.  The Cluetrain Manifesto is one such example.

Before I begin I should start with the obvious question, “Have you ever heard of the Cluetrain Manifesto?” I certainly had not!

Most “techies” would laugh you and I out of a room just for asking that question!

It’s considered to be the seminal work of the 21st century  for the online world.  However, even if technology will never be “your thing” the insights it offers are important to understand as we find our footing in today’s new marketplace.

The Cluetrain Manifesto is a small document consisting of a set of 95 theses put forward as a call to action for people operating in a newly-connected marketplace.  What makes this Manifesto even more impressive is that it remains relevant even though it was written over nine years ago.  It begins with a message for all readers.

“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.”

At first glance, The ClueTrain Manifesto appears fairly simple and straightforward. Look a little deeper and you’ll find it’s packed with insights and lessons for those who are willing to listen.  Below are just a few of those lessons.

It offers insights into personal and professional relationships for the 21st century.  Some of its claims are as follows:

  • “Markets are conversations.”
  • “The Internet is enabling conversations among human beings that were simply not possible in the era of mass media.”
  • “These networked conversations are enabling powerful new forms of social organization and knowledge exchange to emerge.”

It speaks to a new model for growing your business by building relationships, giving value, and sharing interests.

  • “…Markets are getting smarter, more informed, more organized…”
  • “People in networked markets have figured out that they get far better information and support from one another than from vendors….”
  • “People want and are having conversations that are open, honest and natural.  Most businesses only know how to talk in soothing, humorless, mission statement fashion.”

The writers of the Manifesto even speak to marketing do’s and do not’s in today’s age. (The statements below beg the question, “Are your brochures, websites, ads and other marketing materials making these same mistakes?”  Change your approach and you’ll change your impact.)

  • “People don’t care about tired old mission statements and watered down brochure talk.  People are smarter than that.”
  • “Corporations do not speak in the same voice as these new networked conversations.  To their intended online audiences, companies sound hollow, flat, literally inhuman.”.”
  • “People want access to your corporate information, your plans and strategies, your best thinking, your genuine knowledge.  They will not settle for your 4-color brochure or websites full of eye candy but lacking substance.”
  • “We are immune to advertising.  Just forget it.”
  • “If you want us to talk to you, tell us something.  Make it something interesting for a change.”

The Manifesto also offers a warning to those organizations and individuals who cling to old ways of doing business.

  • “Already companies that speak in the language of the pitch, the dog-and-pony show, are no longer speaking to anyone.”
  • “In just a few more years, the current homogenized “voice” of business – the sound of mission statements and brochures – will seem as contrived and artificial as the language of the 18th century French court.”

What are you to make of the Cluetrain Manifesto?  How does it possibly relate to the field of mental health?  I won’t attempt to answer this for you except to say that, in my opinion, it offers us a whole heck of a lot!


If you would like a free copy of the complete Cluetrain Manifesto you can download a pdf file here. Download The Cluetrain Manifesto

And if you would like to learn more about its history along with some discussion points click this link: Cluetrain History

See you next week and please tell others to join in on the conversation at



  1. David  December 14, 2009

    Great hearing from you Tamara!

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