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13 reasons why Cluetrain made me cry

May 10th, 2004 · 2 Comments

On my flight to Boston last month, I took with me a copy of The Cluetrain Manifesto written by Christopher Locke, David Weinberger, Doc Searls, and Rick Levine Copyright © 1999, 2001. From the first chapter, I found myself captured, underlining sentences and dogearing pages. Here are my favorite 13 quotes/themes from the book.

1. Premature Burial
The first sentence of Chapter 1 Internet Apocalypso by Locke is: “We die.”

2. Hunger:
The rest of the first page including the sixth paragraph that begins

It is also the source of a deep hunger that pervades modern life – a longing for something entirely different from the reality reinforced by everyday experience.

I also liked how “you can be a Great Mom” by buying peanut butter…

3. Page 6 of Chapter 1 reminded me of Lisa Williams’ television ideas in Talking Back to the World that inspired me to imagine something similiar:

Now imagine another magic wire strung from house to house …during the touching love scene, some joker lobs an off-color aside – and everybody hears it…

4. Flavorful conversation:

We come in all flavors: funny, cantankerous, neruotic, compassionate, avaricious, generous, scheming, lackadaisical, brilliant and a million other things….

Inside, outside there’s a conversation…Something ancient, elemental, sacred, something very very funny that’s broken loose in the pipes and wires of the twenty-first century. p. 26

5. Desire for the Web
Chapter 2 The Longing by David Weinberger

The spiritual lure of the web is the promise of the return of voice.
The longing for the Web occurs in the midst of a profoundly managed age. p.2

6. Rick Levine’s first two pages of Chapter Three Talk Is Cheap: “I’m still a potter’s kid.” As a part-time potter throughout my life, I enjoyed his description of growing up with red-brown carpets…and what he learned from watching potters and craft.

7. Authentic Voice
Chapter Four Markets Are Conversations by Doc Searls and David Weinberger.

Authenticity describes whether someone truly owns up to what she or he actually is. p.17

8. What is the Web?
David Weinberger’s Chapter Five The Hyperlinked Organization:

The Web isn’t primarily a medium for information, marketing or sales. It’s a work in which people meet, talk, build, fight, love and play. p. 4

9. Make mistakes and laugh about them:

You can only have a conversation if you’re not afraid to be wrong…To converse, you have to be willing to be wrong in front of another person. Chapter 5, p.6

Being wrong is a lot funnier than being right. The right type of laughter – laughter at what the mistake reveals about our situation rather than laughter aimed at a person who dares to be human – is enormously liberating. In fact, laughter is the sound that knowledge makes when it is born. p.25

10. The human world of stories

If you want understanding, you have to reenter the human world of stories.

We live in stories. We breathe stories. Most of our best conversations are about stories. Stories are a big step sidewise and up from information. p 23 -24

11. How will we connect?
Chapter Six EZ Answers by Christopher Locke and David Weinberger.

What the heart wants to know is, When the buttons at our fingers let us talk with the polyglot world’s artists, how will we cope? What will we share as a culture and community? What will we talk about together? What will we laugh about? p.5

12. Imagine a world…
Chapter Seven Post-Apocalypso by Christopher Locke

Imagine a world where everyone was constantly learning, a world where what you wondered was more interesting than what you knew, and curiousity counted for more than certain knowledge. Imagine a world where what you gave away was more valuable than what you held back, where joy was not a dirty word, where play was not forbidden after your eleventh birthday….p.8

The themes of “we die”, authenticity, individuality, community, storytelling and connecting all resonated within me, speaking to me of my past and my future. While The Cluetrain Manifesto is not explicitly a spiritual book, it is one: it describes the state of the human soul, the longing and desire for connection, to be who we really are with each other, to laugh and love, to fight and play, to make mistakes without fear. It’s a book about hunger. It’s about honesty. And it’s about hope.

I’ve posted 12 points, and here is #13, taken from the first chapter page 22:

It’s hard to explain but the paragraph I’d just written resonated with something that had been sleeping all my life, something potent, something deep.

I felt the same way while reading Cluetrain in the airplane. Perhaps it was Weinberger’s storytelling theme, reminding me of how I’ve always enjoyed writing stories, starting when I was a child, making my first book from construction paper, writing about a puppy. And I made a mistake in that book too, something to do with how soon a puppy’s eyes would open. Back then I was ashamed of my error. But Cluetrain describes community where we laugh at our mistakes. They connect us to each other. They make us human. It’s okay.

This is a book about life. It’s about being who you are. Using your own voice. Telling your own story. Being human. It’s a book about being a kid again. Writing those stories, making mistakes even, having fun, without fear, saying how you feel. It’s a wonderful world to imagine. And in some ways, it doesn’t need to be imagined. I feel I have already begun to find it.

To use Locke’s words, Cluetrain “resonated with something that had been sleeping all my life, something potent, something deep”. So as I sat there in my seat miles above the earth holding in my lap a stack of paper, my eyes became a bit misty. I’m glad my neighbors didn’t notice. I don’t know if I would have had words to describe the revelation I was feeling inside me.

Tags: books

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 lenn pryor // May 13, 2004 at 5:29 pm

    Julie –

    I love this piece and I love your blog. It is wonderfully feminine. It just feels good like all of the wonderful things that women bring the world. Sometimes it is like perfume, sometimes it is like a gentle hug, sometimes it is a smirk and a glance that makes a man melt. Rock on.


  • 2 Jim Parsons // May 13, 2004 at 10:11 pm

    Julie –

    Great posting.

    This book was one of my very first Audible.com downloads and I frequently re-visit it in my iTunes collection.

    At first I thought the concepts were super hokey, but over the past few months the book relevance has really started to sink in.

    Spiritual? maybe.

    A wake up call for people who don’t get the web? absolutely.