Social media marketing turns 10

clueThe rather clumsy Wikipedia entry for social media doesn’t provide a date for the birth of the idea, but 1999 is as good a year as any.

That’s the year that Chris Locke, Doc Searls, David Weinberger and Rick Levine published 95 theses that they called the cluetrain manifesto, an outline of how they felt businesses needed to change in a wired world. Ten years later, these theses remain simple, elegant, profound and extremely relevant. When I’m teaching marketers about the philosophy behind social media, I often point to the manifesto and witness my clients as they experience their own little social media epiphany, the way so many others did 10 years ago, around the same time as Seinfeld aired its season finale.

The world has changed immensely over the past decade, especially the online world. But cluetrain remains relevant. In the leadup to the 10 year anniversary of cluetrain this April, I’m going to devote a few posts to the manifesto and how it applies in today’s world.

I’ll leave you with the paragraph that sums up the cluetrain philosophy:

“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.”