I’m getting around to reading actual printed books (!) on social media and web 2.0. Thought I’d better start with the beginning, so right now I’m plugging away at the Cluetrain Manifesto. I know I’m nearly 10 years behind here, but anyhow. I take solace in the fact that people like Jake “Community Guy” McKee are still talking about it (link to a talk he gave recently posted on blip.tv, found via this post.)
Actually, the fact that this book is nearly 10 years old (and I gather that the website that spawned the book has already made it to double digits) is stunning. Circa Y2K, the web was pretty much uncharted territory for all but the serious IT types.
Here’s a little tidbit from the book that showed for me how ahead of its time this book is:
Companies that are actually communicating with online markets have flung the doors wide open … They’re not half as concerned with protecting their data as with how much information they can give away. That’s how they stay in touch, stay competitive, keep market attention from drifting to competitors. Such companies are creating a new kind of corporate identity, based not on the repetitive advertising needed to create “brand awareness,” but on substantive, personalized communications.
Actually us public servant types are pretty good a giving it away – there are millions and millions of Government of Canada web pages out there.
Thing is we’re still stuck in that mode, seeing the Internet as an information delivery mechanism, rather than a medium for substantive, personalized communications. So we put up reams of press releases, publications and other stuff. But we’re certainly not “flinging the doors wide open” to allow for two-way relationships online. Nor are we likely to without a serious push by social media evangelists within the PS, given the culture of the bureaucracy. We’re only beginning to see the light, 10 years on.