Last stop for the Cluetrain: Federal Government

[Intelink-U mirror]

I’ve been reading the Cluetrain Manifesto (10th Anniversary Edition), a book that examines the impact of the Internet on both markets (consumers) and organizations.  The over-the-top introduction reads like this (with minor editorial deletions/additions):

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 government agencies.

These markets are conversations. Their members communicate in language that is natural, open, honest, direct, funny and often shocking. Whether explaining or complaining, joking or serious, the human voice is unmistakably genuine. It can’t be faked.

Most corporations government agencies, on the other hand, only know how to talk in the soothing, humorless monotone of the mission statement, marketing brochure, and your-call-is-important-to-us busy signal. Same old tone, same old lies. No wonder networked markets have no respect for companies agencies unable or unwilling to speak as they do.

But learning to speak in a human voice is not some trick, nor will corporations agencies convince us they are human with lip service about “listening to customers citizens.” They will only sound human when they empower real human beings to speak on their behalf.

While many such people already work for companies gov’t agencies today, most companies agencies ignore their ability to deliver genuine knowledge, opting instead to crank out sterile happytalk that insults the intelligence of markets literally too smart to buy it.

However, employees are getting hyperlinked even as markets are. Companies Agencies need to listen carefully to both. Mostly, they need to get out of the way so intranetworked employees can converse directly with internetworked markets.

Corporate Agency firewalls have kept smart employees in and smart markets out. It’s going to cause real pain to tear those walls down. But the result will be a new kind of conversation. And it will be the most exciting conversation business government has ever engaged in.

I was in pilot training when this book first came out, so I completely missed the viral-meme phenomenon.  Now, as a Federal civilian who has recently taken to blogging, much of what the book has to say speaks to me deeply.

I now have personal experience with the Cluetrain:  I got pushed in front of it.

I will tell that story in my next post, which will be on the ethics of blogging as a fed.

2 thoughts on “Last stop for the Cluetrain: Federal Government

  1. Brock Webb

    I’m writing a final paper for an NDU class, our topic is the value of informal networks. I have _Cluetrain_Manifesto_ here at my desk, half read which seems to be the norm for me when I hit the diminishing return point for me. Based on a few of the things you had posted, I’ll probably have to crack it open and see if there are some good concepts as another source. I remember goodness, but it got repetitious for me.

    1. Dan Post author

      To be sure, the high-value part is the “95 theses” at the beginning. All the rest of it is just commentary. I stalled out about halfway through, myself.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.