Cluetrain: We Have Met The Internet’s Enemy, And He Is Us

from Gigaom

When the Cluetrain Manifesto first appeared in 1999, the consumer internet was still in its infancy. The vast majority of people still used dial-up phone services to get online, if they got online at all, and GeoCities and Yahoo were the kings of the web — the closest thing to social media was AOL’s Instant Messenger. But the authors of the Manifesto saw what was coming: a world in which users, consumers and people in general would be connected in more ways than anyone imagined.

That world is the one we live in now — a world in which we can get instantaneous news and photos and video from people halfway around the globe, posted through half a dozen different free services, on handheld computers that contain more processing power than NASA had when it landed a man on the moon. But there is a new risk, the Manifesto authors argue, and so they have released an update to the original document.

The first Manifesto was meant as a wake-up call for corporations and governments, a warning that the web and social tools were going to empower people in a host of different ways, and that this power shift would disrupt markets of all kinds — commercial, intellectual, political. And that has definitely come to pass, just as the authors said it would: Old players have been laid low or even destroyed, and new ones have emerged.

More here.

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10 Responses to Cluetrain: We Have Met The Internet’s Enemy, And He Is Us

  1. Jeremy Galvis January 23, 2015 at 2:21 pm #

    This is a very interesting article that brings up good points. The author mentioned “the risk that corporations and governments are taking control of the internet.” This is a reference to maintaining net neutrality. The internet has been able to become what it is today because of the freedom it allows. It made the world smaller and made the ability to spread ideas across the globe easier. Which can be used for good and bad motives, such as getting people together to overthrow governments you don’t agree with. The Arab Spring and ISIS can both attribute their successes to the internet as a means of recruiting.
    This article makes it sound like corporations want to dictate what you can or can’t do. However from what I’m reading, they just want another revenue stream to fill in for the lost revenue they’ve experienced with internet piracy of their television shows and other properties.
    I am all for freedom on the internet and exchanging thoughts and ideas with people all over the globe. I love that it gives everyone a voice. The only problem is that most people don’t have anything interesting to say, just read any comments section on Youtube or Reddit or any other website.

  2. Caroline Strickland January 23, 2015 at 5:32 pm #

    My earliest memory of my first house involves the sound of a dial-up computer that sat behind the couch in the living room. We lived on ten acres outside of Montgomery, Alabama, yet the idea of going online was not novel to me. Our school used a computer lab once every week, playing games to learn proper grammar and basic mathematics. I had no idea it was something special, and at four years old, the implications and the possibilities of these devices had no chance of breaking through my preoccupation with watching The Little Mermaid for the tenth time (that month). Since then, quite a few people have made up for my lack of thought in that subject matter. Namely, those who authored The Cluetrain Manifesto. This document outlines and analyzes the effects of internet on the market and on organizations; it was released in 2001. What they discussed in this article was ground breaking, but it came to pass. Now, they have added an update to the original manifesto.
    At first, one might be tempted, as I was, to ignore the urgency that the new addition comes with. The new addition transforms the manifesto from a call to action to business to a call to action to the people, saying that corporations and governments are now “taking control of the internet in a host of different ways, creating silos and restrictions that threaten to shut down many of the web’s best features and give power back to [the corporations and governments].” It doesn’t seem like that’s true, since I’m reading this article on the wifi provided to me by the school. But it strikes me that I am getting my wifi through a third party: the school. The school, in turn, is getting that wifi from another provider, who may very well be getting their service and servers from another company. There is already a huge degree of separation from the source of the service to the user, me, right there. The authors say that apathy and encouragement from the general public is exactly what is allowing these groups to silo off the internet service. I have to say, I agree there. It took very little digging for me to find out something I previously hadn’t heard a word about, something that backs and enhances the urgency found in the new addition to the manifesto: the FCC will be voting on net neutrality laws in February. This should be a widely known fact. Nobody can thrive today without a high-speed internet. If a business neglects their social media, it is as if they don’t exist. If they don’t have a website, they don’t have three quarters of the exposure that is available to them. All this to say, everyone who knows about internet should know about this impending vote, and I had never heard another soul breathe a word about it. That is where I begin to get in board with the new piece of the manifesto. It’s a bit frightening that a law which concerns big data has so little coverage—has so little data on it. Granted, it may have been lost amidst a flood of other breaking news, but it is certainly worth mentioning. When I looked up information on the vote on Google, I noticed that most of the major newspapers hadn’t yet published an article on the topic online.
    I do agree that, if the general public is not careful and more aware, we could let companies and governments get away with far too much. The Net, as it is pointed out, is not simply a collection of Apps and social media. It is, in fact, what we make it. It is the responsibility of each individual “maker” to be a “maker” and to help the Net reach its true potential: to be a platform on which one can share information and news instantly with others around the world. We can’t be so engrossed in the sea of apps available to us that we forget the actual power of the internet and the possibilities it presents to us. Angry Birds is simply not what it’s all about. And yet, our dependence on the Net is the exact reason that more people should be paying attention to what’s going on concerning looming restrictions on the net. I agree whole heartedly that one entity, be that a government or corporation, does not have any kind of sovereignty over the Net. The Net was not constructed under the order of anyone, but it blossomed from the users—what this articles called the “makers” of the Net. I like the policy of action that the new part of the manifesto prescribes: voting with your clicks (instead of voting with your dollars). Stick to the companies who actually “get” the Net and aren’t trying to capitalize on an entity that does not belong to them. In this way, the public can avoid having the power of the Net gradually slip through their fingers and back into the hands of those who might restrict those powers.

  3. Walker J. Mondt January 23, 2015 at 6:33 pm #

    Net neutrality is a pressing topic in the nation and this article echoes the same concerns and ideas many proponents of net neutrality preach. I enjoyed reading this article because it speaks a truth that many people ignore nowadays: how many enemies we have in the world are, in fact, ourselves. Take for example our lawmakers and their gilded age of politics. While they should perform to a higher standard, we as voters should be the ones to hold them accountable to that higher standard.

    In the article, the authors of the Manifesto argue that the new connectivity of the Internet is a bad thing for businesses, saying that, “As a direct result, markets are getting smarter — and getting smarter faster than most companies.” I disagree with this claim. I believe it provide a huge, limitless benefit to companies and entrepreneurship. Sure it creates a more competitive market and some companies cannot keep up. This competitive edge leaves us with the best companies. Besides this, the connectivity can help spur growth in small businesses. Before some smaller businesses may have had trouble advertising or appealing a larger base. Now with social media and internet ads companies can spread word faster, and perhaps cheaper, than ever before. Online shopping has also aided consumers as well as the businesses. Consumers can access cheaper brands and items if they so desire. They can also save time from their busy schedule and have it delivered to them instead of wasting time going and picking the package up from the store.

    The Internet is our medium. We use it for different activities every day. Therefore, we should be the ones to protect it. I agree with the article in that control of the Internet is in an extremely dangerous region. If it’s not the government we’re afraid of having too much control, it’s the big technology companies like Yahoo, or Comcast. Net neutrality is the proper way of taking care of the Internet, as it is the people who created the foundation it is built on.

  4. Arman Sandhu January 23, 2015 at 8:22 pm #

    The greatest benefactor of living in the 21st century is the fact that people can communicate instantaneously. The power of communication through a immediate outlet was taken for granted by many oracles of the 21st century like “Star Trek”. Certainly the power is in the hands of the people thanks to internet technology. Thomas Friedman, a great novelist and an American journalist wrote a book called, “The World is Flat”. This book embodies the great success technology has in advancing communication, while some may believe it has rather hindered instead.

    Thanks to globalization which could truly not happen on the local level if it was not for the internet has helped someone from New York talk to someone in Russia, China, Kenya, or even San Francisco, with the click of a button at the same time. However, the true effects of this power could be felt during the Egyptian revolution when protesters were being persecuted by the government and the people managed to get help by showing the international community. These pushes by the internet helped spur reform where despotic tyrants arbitrarily governed.

    When Thomas Friedman wrote his book about the world being flat he did not mean literally. He meant that the playing field has been leveled everywhere as long as a person has connection to the internet. This means the individual in South Africa can have a better education, and train themselves to be a better person through the vast knowledge of the web. The people with the most power, who were the wealthy because they had all the knowledge, have as much knowledge as the entrepreneur in China trying to be the next big thing.

    Truly innovation is fascinating however, some argue that due to this increase in internet as far as communication goes, it has hindered society and left individuals deprived of social skills. Though this may be the case it is important to understand the benefits of technology which far outweigh this minor setback. The possibilities for such technology now help reach sections of the world that everyone thought were pure darkness. For example, North Korea’s population numbers as well as other figures hidden by their government were captured due to hacking of the Korean web all thanks to the internet. The world is flat now and equal opportunity is truly a little more equal.

  5. Hongzhi Feng January 29, 2015 at 8:35 am #

    According to this case, the author showed us a interesting point, It just like Will Smith’s movie “I,robot”. As the time passed by, Internet improves so fast, and human being become the enemy of the Computer. Cluetrain claimed that we are the Internet’s enemy when Internet was still infancy.

    First of all, the power shift from government to website will destroy the balance between all kinds of market such as commercial, intellectual and political. Government felt afraid about the powerful global conversation, it tried to get their power back, they took some measure as creating silos and restrictions that threaten to shut down many of the web’s best features. They hinder the develop of Internet.

    Besides that, we built the most dangerous group called the third horde, we always showed our hatred and outrage and meanness to public, it caused that Internet harm so many people. Internet is use for help people get better life, but we use it to make our life being worse. So Internet’s enemy is us.

    We made such negative effort on Internet, but we can change this situation, just use it beneficial to gain more information to enhance our knowledge, that’s what we should do.

  6. Zack Lisanti January 30, 2015 at 12:58 pm #

    This is a very interesting article. The facts presented are very true, about the way the internet is headed. These companies are taken there massive budgets and followings to tailor the internet how they please, mostly to make the most profit. In this way these big guys are in a sense ‘Owning’ the internet. The last sentence of the article really spoke a much more powerful message than nearly the whole article. This was,

    “And since it’s an open-source document, if you don’t see something you can always add it yourself. ”

    This here is a sentence that shows what should be done with the internet. The internet itself is an open-source document, and it should be treated like one. The fact that these large internet companies, create their own worlds inside this massive open world we call the internet is one of the smartest business moves arguably ever. The internet is impossibly popular, with ridiculous amounts of time spent on it daily. This time for most is spent on things like twitter, youtube, Facebook, Netflix, and the list goes on. The problem is that these companies created the world for us, and we become consumers of that. The open source nature of the internet lets people do whatever they please online. Take this site we are all on right now. Professor Shannon created his own blog. now everyone could do this, and countless other possibilities.

    Things like CISPA, and other bills are things that could destroy the internet. Killing the things that are the essence of the internet is how you have it slowly die. The fact that the internet is a massive beach, and these companies create this small sandboxes where you have to pay to get in is impossibly mind blowing. And bills like these proposed are going to punish the people that try to play in the open sand, by limiting what they can create. The last section of the article, is what should be preached to everyone. Make the internet what you want it to be. that is what it was created for.

  7. Alfred Valli January 30, 2015 at 2:25 pm #

    This article shows a lot of the points of the internet that are changing. It talks about the good parts, the bad parts, and the parts that we must protect and change to keep it ours. It talks a lot about how companies and websites and countries are trying to take control of the internet by making rules for it and taking the power away from the users. The author tells us that we must work to put the power back in the hands of the people because we are the only ones that can make the changes we want and we control it.

    The author mentions how we can now not only watch TV but we can pick and choose when and how we watch it on the computer. Things like Netflix and other companies like that are changing the way things work, they are changing the internet in their favor and taking the power for themselves. It talks about how companies like this are taking away from the users. It also talks a bout how apps are changing us. it says how apps are making us into just users instead of makers and creators, we are just using the apps and not expanding on them or creating anything of our own.

    The most important part however in the article is that the author says that we should “Be the web we want to see.” This shows us that we really do have the control. It talks about how we have made this problem and talks about how we are the only one who can take our power back and be the only ones who can make this problem right and can make this powerful tool be the best that it can be.

  8. Dylan Walko April 28, 2015 at 3:14 pm #

    The article as a whole is extremely empowering for the common human, individuals do not need to the CEO of Google to make an impact on the internet or create something new and great. Whether it be a word press blog, or a simple article. Anything created by the everyday person does in fact make the internet richer as a whole. Expanding both knowledge and understanding. But we are also at the same time the major threats to that which we love so much about the internet. By investing so much time into Apps created and distributed by the likes of Apple and Android, society isolates who influences us. It’s no longer our fellow man, it quickly turns into a global sphere of a select few corporations who have all the power. It is a daunting task for the average Joe to go out and do something about it, but philanthropists have done extensive work in the field of IT to make sure the internet is not monopolized. It’s also not only Fortune 500 companies doing this, but the government is on the upcoming when it comes to censorship and restricted access to what they want us to be involved in on the internet. It’s slowly becoming a civil war for the last frontier and it could go either way.

  9. Megan Moore October 14, 2015 at 5:56 pm #

    The article “Cluetrain: We have met the Internet’s enemy, and he is us,” is about an update to the original Manifesto. Individuals have become more connected then originally thought. The first Manifesto was intended to be a wake up call for the government and corporations that web and social tools were young to overcome people and become shift power. Markets that have been disrupted as a result include political, commercial and intellectual. The Internet has led to people becoming increasingly innovative in the ways they communicate. The new Manifesto discusses a new threat. This new threat is corporations and the government taking control of the Internet. The authors of the manifesto say that the public is letting this happen. The Manifesto is a Declaration of Independence for the next generation. Another major risk to the Internet is how hatred and outrage spreads more quickly then in the past. We are holding the Internet back and we are the solution. We have to vote for values we want through what we do on the Internet and what we say.
    This article was very interesting and brought up many good points. The Internet has become how it is today because of us. I enjoy the freedom that is offered on the Internet. However, it can be used for bad things. Communicating instantaneously is very important but it has been taken advantage of and taken for granted. I do not think most of the public is aware of what goes on the Internet and how much control companies have. Many people are ignoring this fact and not doing anything about it. The Internet is crucial to daily life and we should protect it. Net neutrality is a very important issue and was brought up in the article.
    The Internet has become a crucial to businesses. The resources available for businesses on the Internet help give some companies competing edge over their competition. Connectivity has helped businesses of all sizes connect to their market. Social media has also aided smaller businesses advertise and gain a larger following. Without the Internet many businesses would not be able to survive. The Internet is crucial to business and we should protect it. I believe that the Internet should remain open. People should be able to freely express their ideas.

  10. Matthew Ams April 12, 2019 at 7:53 pm #

    The internet is such a controversial topic when talking to different generations. Older generations like the baby boomers will find the internet disturbing as they were not brought up with this technology but instead had to adapt to it, which most still haven’t. Millennial on the other hand are the driving voice of the internet. They have been living with it since children and couldn’t imagine a time period when they couldn’t search for an answer on google, watch a video on youtube on any topic, or go onto Facebook to update themselves on their friends and families lives. As this article discusses, there are some dangers on the internet and it is coming from the consumers. There will always be negative people in this world who aren’t open minded to accepting other ethnicities or thoughts and I do believe that the internet should be cleansed from these people. They are only doing more harm then good and are not using the internet in the way it was designed. Since the birth of instant messaging, bullying has become easier and more serious. It is so much harder to say something hurtful to someones face and see their reaction in front of you so instead these cowards are hiding behind a screen, like the one i am typing on right now, and say anything that comes to their mind. One day there will be implemented rules and regulations for people on the internet and that day should come as soon as possible. Over 3.2 billion people have the internet at their fingertips. Without having some enforced rules besides governments stepping in for their own personal information, we are all basically free to do whatever we want, whenever we would like to. I do not agree with the portion of the article that states government and companies are trying to take control of the internet to restrict information that was once theirs. Almost everything should be open to the people to read and see, and keeping people in the dark and not being able to share their information is unlawful.

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