One of the most inspiring documents from the early days of the Internet was the Cluetrain Manifestoâ€”published in 1999 by Rick Levine, Christopher Locke, David Weinbergerand Doc Searls. This set of 95 theses provided a valuable framework for Internet marketers and anyone else trying to understand how disruptive this new communication hub would eventually be. A revised and extended version of their manifesto was published as a book under the same title in 2000.
In January 2015, two of the authors (Doc Searls and David Weinberger) published a follow-up document called New Clues. We at conceptbakery consider this essential reading for anyone interested in the dynamics and future of online conversations. All of us who use the web should take these thoughts to heart in the current net neutrality debate and all conversations regarding the future of what could easily be the most potent communication enabler in human history since the invention of speech.
Â Note:Â We took the step to translate â€œNew Cluesâ€ into German and publish it in our German blog. The authorsâ€™ site also links to Italian and Catalan translations. If you are master of other languages, you might want to consider following suit and making the content available to readers not savvy enough to comprehend the English. Thank you!
Since the authors were polite enough to put their precious content in the public domain, we are able to share it with you right here:
Hear, O Internet.
It has been sixteen years since our previous communication.
In that time the People of the Internet â€” you and me and all our friends of friends of friends, unto the last Kevin Bacon â€” have made the Internet an awesome place, filled with wonders and portents.
From the serious to the lolworthy to the wtf, we have up-ended titans, created heroes,Â and changed the most basic assumptions about
How Things Work and Who We Are.
But now all the good work weâ€™ve done together faces mortal dangers.
When we first came before you, it was to warn of the threat posed by those who did not understand that they did not understand the Internet.
These are The Fools, the businesses that have merely adopted the trappings of the Internet.
Now two more hordes threaten all that we have built for one another.
The Marauders understand the Internet all too well. They view it as theirs to plunder, extracting our data and money from it, thinking that we are the fools.
But most dangerous of all is the third horde: Us.
A horde is an undifferentiated mass of people. But the glory of the Internet is that it lets us connect as diverse and distinct individuals.
We all like mass entertainment. Heck, TVâ€™s gotten pretty great these days, and the Net lets us watch it when we want. Terrific.
But we need to remember that delivering mass media is the least of the Netâ€™s powers.
The Netâ€™s super-power is connection without permission. Its almighty power is that we can make of it whatever we want.
It is therefore not time to lean back and consume the oh-so-tasty junk food created by Fools and Marauders as if our work were done. It is time to breathe in the fire of the Net and transform every institution that would play us for a patsy.
An organ-by-organ body snatch of the Internet is already well underway. Make no mistake: with a stroke of a pen, a covert handshake, or by allowing memes to drown out the cries of the afflicted we can lose the Internet we love.
We come to you from the years of the Webâ€™s beginning. We have grown old together on the Internet. Time is short.
We, the People of the Internet, need to remember the glory of its revelation so that we reclaim it now in the name of what it truly is.
January 8, 2015