Vintage Cluetrain

29 Apr

So The Cluetrain Manifesto is ten years old.

Much has changed since 1999 (blogs and other forms of social media have made the web a much more conversational space). But it remains an important polemic against most marketing and PR practices. These haven't changed fast enough.

Take the standard computer-industry press release (the authors write). With few exceptions, it describes an "announcement" that was not made, for a product that was not available, quoting people who never said anything, for distribution to a list of people who mostly consider it trash.

Is there any hope for PR?

But, of course, the best of the people in PR … understand that they aren’t censors, they’re the company’s best conversationalists. Their job — their craft — is to discern stories the market actually wants to hear, to help journalists write stories that tell the truth, to bring people into conversation rather than protect them from it. Indeed, already some companies are building sites that give journalists comprehensive, unfiltered information about the industry, including unedited material from their competitors. In the age of the Web where hype blows up in your face and spin gets taken as an insult, the real work of PR will be more important than ever.

It still needs saying, so The Cluetrain Manifesto still needs reading.

2 Responses to “Vintage Cluetrain”

  1. Helena Makhotlova 29/04/2009 at 6:43 pm #

    That’s true, Richard – in fact, I have found myself re-reading the Cluetrain the other day. Though written a decade ago, it’s still the topic of the day. Well, old habits die hard. But probably the most important reason for why we still hang on to the past, is because, as one blogger put it, the old paradigm isn’t dead yet. And the new one, it still hasn’t taken its form, only contours. I think most of PR people already ’got it’on their menu, they just don’t know what to eat it with.

  2. Bob LeDrew 29/04/2009 at 9:35 pm #

    Great project that Keith McArthur started called Cluetrain+10 can be found at
    (Disclosure: I wrote something about #33, and I’d be happy to have people read it at:

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