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Cluetrain Theses – A Summary

30 June 2009

I’ve pulled all the theses together, in the hopes that I would see patterns. Here we go!

1.  Markets are conversations.


6. The Internet is enabling conversations among human beings that were simply not possible in the era of mass media.


9. These networked conversations are enabling powerful new forms of social organization and knowledge exchange to emerge.
Some examples are in social mobilizing and organizing. They have discovered in Twitter a very important tool to accomplish that like in the case of Iran elections or Honduras military taking the president out.

Jon, Rubi

12. 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. How has social media impacted your organization, for ‘good’ or ‘bad’? What lessons or insights have you gained from the market?

Jessica, Jon, Margery, Rubi

14. Corporations do not speak in the same voice as these new networked conversations. To their intended online audiences, companies sound hollow, flat, literally inhuman.

This thesis encourages us to use personal voices rather than brand voices on Twitter. So true! The best Twitter practices by organization that I’ve seen are by those where an identified individual in the company is using his/her own voice!


15. In just a few more years, the current homogenized “voice” of business—the sound of mission statements and brochures—will seem as contrived and artificial as the language of the 18th century French court. How are you tackling the creation of a ‘new voice’ or ‘another voice’ for various constituents. Who do you find is best suited to craft the Twitter posts? Interns? Communication Dept? President/Artistic Director?


17. Companies that assume online markets are the same markets that used to watch their ads on television are kidding themselves.
Television users and Limewire users are different markets. The broadcast and the internet is quickly converging.

Anita, Rubi

19. Companies can now communicate with their markets directly. If they blow it, it could be their last chance.

I don’t know if this will be companies’ last chance, but I agree that now is the time for companies to engage markets. With more and more companies using Twitter and other social media, even conservative companies can feel safe to take the plunge.


21. Companies need to lighten up and take themselves less seriously. They need to get a sense of humor. How do you ‘get a sense of humor’ when your social issues are urgent and that sense of urgency historically has driven your mission and fundraising?


22. Getting a sense of humor does not mean putting some jokes on the corporate web site. Rather, it requires big values, a little humility, straight talk, and a genuine point of view. How has humility been achieved with the organization in order to engage your constituents?

Jessica, Margery

23. Companies attempting to “position” themselves need to take a position. Optimally, it should relate to something their market actually cares about. If your brand’s position is clear, take us “following” you as an endorsement to your position. Stay true to it and we will engage with you because you are adding value to the market.


25. Companies need to come down from their Ivory Towers and talk to the people with whom they hope to create relationships.
Talk is important to start dialogue but listening is a important part of strong relationships.

Anita, Jon

28. Most marketing programs are based on the fear that the market might see what’s really going on inside the company.
– Companies have far less to worry about and can focus on consumer desires when they are able to connect directly to the public. Transparency goes a long way when it comes to things like product safety. Social issues such as who the company donates to is an area in which more transparency will not necessarily lead to more sales.


34. To speak with a human voice, companies must share the concerns of their communities.
Learn who is living in your community.


35. But first, they must belong to a community.
Become a member of the community.


37. If their cultures end before the community begins, they will have no market.
Stop the fear of emerging technologies pull open the doors and look inside the possibilities.


40. Companies that do not belong to a community of discourse will die.

This is absolutely true. Any successful business has a target audience, whether B2B or B2C, and that audience is talking about it whether or not the company is in the conversation, too. Companies ought to join the discourse, if only to listen!


44. Companies typically install intranets top-down to distribute HR policies and other corporate information that workers are doing their best to ignore. What are your policies about Twittering about the day-to-day workings of your organization? What are those concerns? – A new government trend is to transmit the majority of unclassified information via 3rd party platforms such as moodle rather than intranets. Unfortunately they still are out-of-bounds to search bots. Even with technologies like twitter, only information that individuals deem necessary is divulged to the public.

Corey, Jessica

53. There are two conversations going on. One inside the company. One with the market.

Now with tools like Twitter, those conversations can have more overlap.


60. This is suicidal. Markets want to talk to companies.
Consumers are now getting their chance to talk directly to companies such as Comcast. The question is what will consumer say? Will they talk? Listen to your public and give them a forum to speak.

Anita, Corey

62. Markets do not want to talk to flacks and hucksters. They want to participate in the conversations going on behind the corporate firewall.


63. De-cloaking, getting personal: We are those markets. We want to talk to you.You’re invited, but it’s our world. Take your shoes off at the door. If you want to barter with us, get down off that camel! Twitter isn’t a focus group, you can’t control the conversations we are having about you, but you’re invited to join us as an equal.


64. We want access to your corporate information, to your plans and strategies, your best thinking, your genuine knowledge. We will not settle for the 4-color brochure, for web sites chock-a-block with eye candy but lacking any substance.
– While some twitter posts are undoubtedly lacking in substance, the real-time information they present is much more powerful than brochures and web-sites. I would argue that it also rivals TV commercials in that when information is broadcast on a 2-way platform, others’ comments amplify the data.


65. We’re also the workers who make your companies go. We want to talk to customers directly in our own voices, not in platitudes written into a script.

Offer language that reflects how your employees really sound.


72- We like this new marketplace much better. In fact, we are creating it.
Twitter was created with one purpose and then the audience found other purposes for it, that’s what companies don’t get.

Rubi, Jon

75. If you want us to talk to you, tell us something. Make it something interesting for a change. If we wanted to know the headline from your latest press release, we would have visited your website…but probably NOT. The truth is, we want to feel in the know & special, so fuel us with interesting content.


85. We know some people from your company. They’re pretty cool online. Do you have any more like that you’re hiding? Can they come out and play? You are bound to have brand advocates within your walls, so empower them to share their passions/thoughts/concerns about your brand. It helps us to see the light. Just think about what Robert Scoble did for Microsoft.

I often find that when people blog or tweet about their own company they are honest and interact on a more personal level than traditional marketing via large media outlets. Unfortunately there will likely always be a digital divide and overwhelming confusion about the best tactics for advertising.

Margery, Corey

90. Even at its worst, our newfound conversation is more interesting than most trade shows, more entertaining than any TV sitcom, and certainly more true-to-life than the corporate web sites we’ve been seeing.
Do you find this true?

Jessica, Rubi

95. We are waking up and linking to each other. We are watching. But we are not waiting.
– When linking to each other requires only a click of the mouse and information is in real-time, requiring customers to locate or wait for information has a negative effect.


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