Consumer Internet

Cluetrain part of the fabric

By March 15, 2007 4 Comments

Listening to the panel on social networks at the Innovation and Growth Forum conference on Monday I was struck how the messages coming across were totally in sync with the ClueTrain Manifesto (if you click on this link and scroll down the page you will find the book summarised in a handy 95 theses).

Joanna Shields of Bebo and Timo Soininen of Sulake (Habbo Hotel) were on the panel.

I found myself in wholehearted agreement with most of what they said.  Here are a couple of highlights:

  • Social networks let you reach people that are otherwise hard to reach
  • Companies can also use social networks to hear things back from the market – ie have a conversation
  • In order to benefit from this media companies must have a total commitment to listening to the customer
  • The consumer is changing – if you don’t use these new media you won’t engage them

Cluetrain was written in 1999, and was extremely radical at the time – the main message is that markets are conversations.  I think it is still very fresh and captures where the world is heading.  It was interesting that Joanna and Timo were echoing its sentiments without evoking the name.  That says to me that in some circles those ideas are now taken for granted.

Not in all circles though.  When the panel was opened to questions from the floor people were asking about how brands could control their “broadcast message”.  IMHO that is really behind the times.