Some selections of my favorite student responses (from both course sections) to Cluetrain:
One would think that as a society we have become less emotional and accessible when in reality we are becoming more and more intimate and open with each other. And now, corporations are being forced to become vulnerable as well.[Matina V's SG]
What I don't understand is how [Cluetrain] keeps trying to relate the web to our need to not be managed when I think that the web is probably our greatest attempt [to] manage the world, conceptualize it, dualize it, put it on a computer screen and make it as accessible as possible.[Matina V's SG]
I really feel now that I have a better understanding of the history of the “Net” and how it has and is socially affecting our culture. One of my favorite quotes was, “The net grew like a weed between the cracks in the monolithic steel-and-grass empire of traditional commerce.” I really like the fact that the creation and growth of the net, and still to this day, works as an underground revolution, just like the 60’s and no one even knew it was happening.[Matina V's SG]
In class a while ago, when Gilbert was telling us about blogs and the freedom that they offered us, he compared, or contrasted them, to blackboard. While blackboard is watched over by, “The Man,” blogs are free. The school can censor and watch what we say on blackboard and the freedom we think we have is really non existent. The web is our opportunity to say what we want to say and be heard.[world at large]
The internet makes me feel very connected to people. Thanks to Lania, I have started reading Rosie O’Donnell’s blog. I am now obsessed. I was a fan of her show, so I love reading her blog because it’s almost like her show is back, but it is much more personal. I feel like I know her. Instead of just watching her on TV and not being able to respond or give feedback, her blog gives people that opportunity. The fact that I have a blog and Rosie has a blog is just bizarre to me.[world at large]
Living in the ultra managed world does have some disadvantages, though. I agree with Weinberger when he claims that living in the ultra managed world creates the mandatory entity known as “professionalism” in the workplace. Though it does not create the strict Catholic school dress code some of us (myself included) grew up with, it does create a sort of standard that everyone must abide by. People are only allowed so much in the way of self-expression....
There are some who say that being a student is just like holding a job. Using that analogy, Marymount becomes my work place. Like any good workplace, Marymount has its code of professionalism. We’re free to do what we want when we want how we want so long as it is within the limits of reason. We shy away from topics that might offend others around us when we talk and we try to act like good little workers in class....
Contrasting [with] this, like the internet contrasts [with] the workplace, is the world we create in our blogs. Here we can say what we want and fear no repercussions.[...] It gives us a chance to make use of out professionally silenced voices and allows us to let our all important opinions be heard.
Maybe that’s the elusive purpose of the internet? To give voice to the millions that have been silenced by the workplace and the world of professionalism. It is the place where opinions can be stated and shared, traded like so many trading cards. It is true that the opinions some express may be wrong in some way, tainted and negative by their life’s experiences but they, too, are allowed to speak their virtual minds.[Upper Deck]
In ancient times, back in the days of the Greek and Roman marketplaces, we were a highly interactive society. Locke, the author of the cluetrain manifesto, makes it a point to describe the nature of the ancient day marketplace. The marketplace was the hub of ancient society. It was the place people went to not only exchange goods and services but to exchange gossip as well. Take, for example, Socrates who presented his questions to Athens while in the marketplace. For him, it was the place to rouse the sleeping beast that was Athens, to be the preverbal “gadfly” on the horse. It was a place of teaching and of learning and of, basically, annoying the rest of the city.
From there, according to the cluetrain manifesto, the human race started to become passive. The gadfly failed to wake us up as we fell into a deeper slumber in front of the television. Like so many people in their own private, isolated cubicles we started to stare at the televisions, passively absorbing the information it presented. The business world- the corporate world- was telling us what to buy and how to think and we were powerless to do anything about it. Instead, we stared at the television and took in what was shown on the flickering screen.[Upper Deck]
Why have power structures been upheld so rigidly for decades? [....] We have always had the right to have a voice, especially here in America. Why are people more likely to speak when they are hiding behind a computer screen?
I would argue that we are giving up the freedom of a truly human voice for a comparable electronic one... but is it a fair trade?[Box of Rain]
Then came the net, which had the potential to save us had it not been usurped by the same corporate giants and their all-too tempting products. But there is still hope, Locke insists, because the internet changed the producer/consumer relationship. By providing a space for consumers to speak freely about products and their manufacturers, the internet:
---> causes command-and-control model management to become obsolete, as people at the top and bottom of a corporation are no longer separated by a large gap in power.
---> allows consumers to break free of the media-conditioned passivity of yore and gain an active voice in a forum that was once barred off.
Even though corporations are on the web, they do not OWN it as they own media outlets like television; the only active voice a consumer has in boob tube advertising is flipping the channel. Therefore, this lovechild born from a handful of computer geeks is now the most revolutionary media outlet worldwide.[Box of Rain]
Our voice is everything; it’s the strongest, most powerful and direct expression of who we are....
We have the business voice, that’s used in a managed environment, and this voice literally sounds like everyone else’s voice. It’s like writing a research paper, you how it’s supposed to be formatted because your professor makes it clear in the beginning of the semester.
...The internet lets you show a different voice that you don’t necessarily get to show at work and that’s what the internet is for.[BLOGS BLOGS BLOGS]
When I post this assignment, many people will be informed from what I have written, just as I’ll be informed with their posts. So the internet is not only a way of communicating, but also a way of gaining knowledge.[BLOGS BLOGS BLOGS]
Weinberger says that we manage our lives, that every aspect is controlled in a way that a business is controlled. We dont only strive to find a voice because of work, but because of how we live our lives and the social norms that have been created in society that keep our voices inside of ouselves. When he says, "The spiritual lure of the web is the promise of the return of the voice" I think that is not completely accurate. The web is definitely a way to show who we are and let out emotion and to communicate with others, but I am not sure that the web is a "spiritual" way of letting the voice out....
We need a world where people can have their voices heard--or read I shoud say and the internet has done that, but we still need the actual voice part in there somewhere. Someday soon, I am sure that someone will figure out how to make that possible.[Julia L]
I also though there were times when the authors did not explain their statement thouroughly enough. One that others have pointed out is when Locke said,[Julia L]We die. And there's more than one way to get it over with. Advertising has some serving suggestions for your premature burial.I never got a clear answer as to what those advertising suggestions were.
This is where Mr. Weinberger spoke to me. After a hard day of being closed inside a tight space, I am home right now, online, writing for my pretty blog. I am checking my e-mail and talking to my friends. I have my screen name, my own personal alias to which I am free of any boundaries. I can speak my mind, the true voice of Jill is out in the open. I couldn't wait to go online because I could be me. Mr. Weinberger also spoke of how we use home pages to get our identities on the Web and to provide an even greater sense of freedom. A prime example is my own personal homepage...where if you want to know me, take an eternity out of your life and read my page. ...We don't care how bad the page is, as long as that independent feeling is indeed felt, that's all that matters.[Miss M's Blog]
Any author who starts a piece of writing using song lyrics, let alone U2 lyrics, is smart as a whip in my book.
I really took an interest in Mr. Locke’s assessment of how excited America was when the Internet first caught on fire. I remember when I first got AOL- version 3.0, slow as hell, but I didn’t care. I was finally online, going into chat rooms, sending e-mail, and visiting my first website ever (a Spice Girls fan page-give me a break I was 13). It took FOREVER to load up, but who cared?!
And just to go back to Mr. Locke’s points about how nothing is ever good enough, (the car needs to be bigger, the girl needs to be blonder) I thought I should bring up my employer Shop Rite Supermarkets. We’re in a competition with a better store right now, and the owners believe that we need to redo our floors and change our structure to try and top them. I equate it to getting plastic surgery when you don’t need to.[Miss M's Blog]
“However much we long for the Web is how much we hate our job.” It kind of makes sense when you think about it. I like my job and I don’t spend a whole lot of time on the web besides paying bills and checking e-mail. My boyfriend doesn’t really like his job. He says that it is boring, and he spends every minute of the day on the web. I go out rollerblading while he spends countless hours playing poker online.[Pamela's Blog]
When I was in like fifth grade my mom would have to sign me into this chat room because by 3pm when I got home Nickolodeon's chatrooms were PACKED![Deanna]
I dont think everything in life is managed but carefully watched and looked at. And we don't manage our families, it sounds too overpowering. We grow, learn, teach, accept with our children and families.[Deanna]
The whole point is that if you do not know the answer, then chances are someone else does. This exchange of information and interaction makes people's lives easier because it leaves room for few surprises on general questions (examples: how much sugar to add to cookies or name of a CD) and provides more reassurance that there is some merit to their inquiry. Another benefit I like about the forums are that people can actively participate without having to say a word. All it takes is a little curiosity and a little patience for the surfer to stumble upon an interesting forum. The person may become intrigued by the threads and read what others have to say. The person may not respond through a detailed or witty message, but the person may indirectly participate just by scrolling through the messages boards. Sometimes when I have free time, I like to go onto messages boards and read what people have to say about various issues that are thriving in the media. Sometimes I shake my head, laugh, or sigh at the comments that a user makes. Yet, many people like myself like to, as Levine labels it "eavesdrop" because we desire to hear the voices of others besides ourselves. We want to see how others feel about an issue and their reasoning behind their position.[Elena R]
Now the Internet is no longer viewed as just another mechanism for people to connect with others who are lands or oceans apart, but it is now a network that is slowly and surely disassembling the whole organizational chart.
...Weiberger reinforces the idea of self expression on the Internet. He explains how it is a way for people to reveal the multifaceted sides of themselves. At work people have to concentrate on one specific task whether it is accomplishing their bulk of the work, or promoting the image of their company. Yet, on the Internet they can show defiance to conventionality.... I remember reading a theory from McLuhan in which he emphasized that many of the objects or mediums we use are extension of ourselves. Well, in this case, the Internet is an extension of our voices. The Internet gives people the power to speak about several subjects whether it is verbally in message forums or abstractly expressed through art on their personal homepages.[Elena R]
...It is amazing to see the assumptions that companies have about consumers. Locke made an interesting point about the unawareness of "Joe Six Pack", who spends his time watching television and is a couch potato because television is his only "objective" window to the world. However, the emergence of the Internet transforms Joe into a knowledgeable person and in the companies eyes, a potentially dangerous individual because he is now connected to people beyond the domestic borders. Although it sounds frivolous, knowledge is a powerful tool, especially with the Internet because people can now find out from others in the world about the issues that are thriving. Some companies may have made the premature assumption that people are not suppose to question or have suspicions about the companies because people are suppose to take the information at face value. Yet, as people learn, the more they begin to question certain systems and organizations around them. They discover contradictions or hypocrisies of companies and may spread the word that companies may not uphold their public image. Some companies underestimate the intellectual capacity of consumers. They fail to realize that once they press the "connect" button, they are venturing outside of their backyard and into a cyberspace world, where limitless information is accessible to the Internet surfers.
Also, Locke creates a comical approach to the whole concept of firewalls. He reveals how a majority of companies have these firewalls to protect any detailed and confidential information. Yet, the only secrets they can conceal are that they are all "talk". They have nothing significant to hide, but they try to convince the public that they have substantial information they want to protect for their consumers. However, the reality is that the companies know how to talk a good bluff and they know how to shuffle the dice, but there is no monopoly board to play on. Levine emphasizes how eventually the companies will have to give up their obsession of protecting their information. They will have to become more flexible because this way it establishes a much more open relationship between the consumer and the organization.[Elena R]
I read the last statement right before the heading “Testing, Testing.” That statement read as follows “We die. And there's more than one way to get it over with. Advertising has some serving suggestions for your premature burial.” ...I found it to be an interesting statement until I kept on reading and found no explanation through out the rest of the chapter. You can’t state something and not explain it, and Locke does that more then once.[HELL'S KITCHEN]
The Web could be characterized as a disguised system of anarchy, or organized chaos. It is organized in its framework, yet entirely chaotic in terms of the lack of management the system possesses.[HAZEY JANE]
Though yielding power to the seemingly communistic community of the internet seems frightening...this new means of production and efficiency could actually create a country of intelligent consumers, and in turn, an even more intelligent group of producers.[HAZEY JANE]
If “nothing is more intimately a part of who we are than our voice” than why is it that we are so quickly willing to give it up? And why then, if we are so willing to give it up [why] are so angry for losing it? It is because the business world has found a way to obliterate all traces of the human voice without actually commanding that it be demolished. In order to subscribe to the professional standards that most corporations demand employees must [give up] the right to their own voice. So, if there are a set of rules that you must follow in order to be successful and your voice does not fit into these rules, then there is no other choice than to sacrifice voice for accomplishment. Professionalism creates one unified front and kills inidividuality, though some would tend to disagree.[Gettin' learned]
Children “grow up hearing news of a world more frightening than anything in ancient fairytales. The wicked witch won’t really push you into the oven, honey, but watch out for AK-47s at recess.” This notion is indeed disturbing. Because it is true. Locke understands that our culture needs a jolt to send us into the next age with an explosion of passion for life and a renewed sense of identity and creativity. He knows that this jolt, should we embrace it and allow it to be what it has the potential to become, is the internet.
Work and business are two unavoidable entities in today’s society. Though there are exceptions to this rule-perhaps you’ve won the lottery or been lucky enough to come from a wealthy family- chances are that at one point or another you have held a job for some period of time. I personally have been working since 2 weeks after I turned 16. And I hate it. As is the case with most people in the United States. I have never, nor do I ever want to hold your typical 9-5 paperwork desk job. While there are certain comforts that come with a regular schedule, the monotony and routine of this class of profession needs to be shaken loose. A change has to occur. Or it will be detrimental the mental and emotional health of the people in this country. Though I know I will lose some of my cool points for this- because by using this quote I must admit that I watch and enjoy ridiculously cheesy ABC family channel movies- I must agree with a line that I heard in the most recent ABC family movie (the one with Ryan Reynolds). One of the characters said, “It takes far less than death to kill a man.” This is exactly what Locke points out is happening to our society. We are all slowly and unknowingly dying because in our jobs we are not allowed the freedom to pursue creativity and passion, we are not allowed to explore ourselves. The mold needs to be broken.
Locke compares the internet to an ancient market. He believes that like these markets, people do not use the internet merely to buy the goods. They flock to this new technology for the promise of a genuine conversation with another human being. We have been emotionally suppressed and subdued to the point that we lost the ability to sincerely interact with one another. Because the desire for this never left us, the internet may be the tool needed reach deep within us and find the courage to let the desire to be human again flourish. People do not desire corporations; they desire each other.[Gettin' learned]
Upon reading the first paragraph of the third chapter of The Cluetrain Manifesto, I realized that Mr. Levine and myself share something in common. He spoke about how his father was a potter and he taught young Levine what it was to be passionate about one's craft. Growing up as a kid, my grandfather made a living as a metal worker. A couple of times I was fortunate enough to watch him mold that metal with his bare hands. To this day, I have a six inch statue that he made, bare handed, not even the slightest need for gloves, sitting in my room. His proudest achievement was knowing that he was a man. When I was 8 years old I was working with my grandpa and I told him how I wished to become a man like him someday. He replied, in his thick Slovakian accent "Know your job, do it well, and offer it everything you are...." Those were days of integrity, honor and pride. As I learn more and more about my generation, and the generations that surround mine, I don't really hear those words anymore. We've been born into Corporate America, raised to believe that money is akin to success. Those who disagreed would not be wealthy. And without money, they’d have no power. And without power, they’d have no control, no say. To the Corporate Leaders, they were just consumers. But now, with the maturing of the Internet, new forms of communication are spawning. The power is changing hands, from the corporations to the people....
The people who have the most influence on consumers, thanks to the abundance and popularity of weblogs, are now the same people I opened my blog with. Honest people, who take pride in their work, are being sought out for their expertise and opinions.[jon d's guide]
I was born and raised to believe that someday I would be sitting at a desk from nine to five. "Desk jobs pay well." I'm beginning to realize that I live in a society that is gradually changing. Wait, it's not though. It's not gradual. It's truckin'. Many things that Locke says about corporations, I did not know. I knew of intranets. 4 years of business classes took care of that. But I didn't realize that this was threatening corporations. I didn't realize the power of the Internet. All I knew was that I spent most of my time on it and if I wanted to know something that my school didn't feel like teaching me, I could find it there.
Many of my classmates had some interesting blogs. Laura mentioned dreams in her entry.[jon d's guide]We aren't dead, but asleep. In a sense, many people in the world spend most of there time dreaming of what they wish they had or wish they knew. Our dreams are where we try to build our knowledge so we may one day be able to wake up and understand....Interestingly enough, I have been pondering the relationship between dreams and communication a lot lately. I've realized that communication brought death to the life that had no distinction between dreams and reality. A life without comparison, without society. Not a life of evolution and growth, but rather a life of contentment. Jean Jacques Rousseau wrote many essays on the topic of man's evolution into society. And as a society we chose not to be content. We chose to evolve. Yet, so many people today are striving to be "content." There is an abundant amount of focus on reality. My father, the cpa, always reminded me, "Dreams aren't real." A common thought in today’s society, but not one to live by. The Internet can provide endless amounts of communication. An abundant amount of knowledge and dreams. We create dreams, we can share em, we can mold em, and with em, we can create reality.
The truth is, the internet doesn't save us from the enslavement of companies, but it does provide a safe place to exchange ideas with other consumers who have used the products and/or worked with or for the companies which make the products. We can now get truth, not PR. According to Locke, this is the crucial shift in the producer/consumer relationship. As, by now, we should all be fairly familiar with the name Scoble, I found myself skimming through his recent blogs just the other day. Conveniently enough, he provides a perfect example of this - where he is in the limelight not for all of the wonderful things he tells the masses about Mircosoft products and the company itself, but rather for his straightforward persona. "Workers have had it with repressive management that just gets in the way. Markets have had it with hyperbole-laden corporate rhetoric that's 99 percent hot air." After all, mother always said honesty was the best policy....[C'est la Vie]
..."Life is too short," we say, and it is. "Too short for office politics, for busywork and pointless paper chases, for jumping through hoops and covering our asses, for trying to please, to not offend, for constantly struggling to achieve some ever-receding definition of success." And I think to myself this guy is dead on. Life is too short. Way too short for me to waste time reading his book or writing a paper on it for that matter. However, it must be done.
...One last thought on this whole dying thing. However brilliant the internet may be I see it creating a perimeter around each of us that doesn’t allow for human contact. It is too easy for us to sit in front of the computer and get what we need. We can create new friendships online but when it comes to face to face communication our skills are slowly diminishing. Therefore we are experiencing a death of interpersonal relationships as well.[Quintonious Bolognious]