Washington Should Get a Clue(train)

An inaugural post is always hard lame odd. So I’ll spare you the James Stockdale introduction and just get to it.

One of the reasons you might be here at K Street Café is to get a better understanding of the power of the “network of networks” and tap into the new tactics of the old game.

Understanding the how and why of this new world is important.  So, with apologies to the Kennedy family, ask not what the internet can do for you, ask how it is changing the balance of power in the influence game.

To get a better understanding of how these emerging networks of linked citizens is changing that balance, my humble suggestion is to start by reading The Cluetrain Manifesto. It has long been required reading for bloggers, it’s time others glean from its lessons, too.

Drafted in 1999 as a notice to companies, in 2008 its message is still relevant — even to Washington.

Here are a few of its 95 Theses: (swap “voting block” or “constituents” for “markets” and “companies” for “policymakers” and it speaks Beltway instantly.)

· Markets consist of human beings, not demographic sectors.
· Conversations among human beings sound human. They are conducted in a human voice.
· 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.
· As a result, markets are getting smarter, more informed, more organized. Participation in a networked market changes people fundamentally.
· There are no secrets. The networked market knows more than companies do about their own products. And whether the news is good or bad, they tell everyone.
· Companies need to lighten up and take themselves less seriously. They need to get a sense of humor.
· Companies attempting to “position” themselves need to take a position. Optimally, it should relate to something their market actually cares about.

Read them all, they describe as well as any document what is happening out there. Even if some may be dated and not be native to the Beltway, perhaps it can still teach the K Street crowd a thing or two.

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  • Alan Funky

    Thank you for your insight. Looking forward to much more.

  • Jane

    Yes, and we can also learn from one of the Cluetrain “Manifesto” authors all about the joys of making a female tech blogger, Kathy Sierra, afraid for her life.

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