Book Review – “Tell Me Something Good”: Cluetrain and Conversations

Review Citation:

Levine, R. (2000). The cluetrain manifesto: The end of business as usual. Cambridge, Mass: Perseus Books.

“The Cluetrain Manifesto” is a collective work written by Rick Levine, Christopher Locke, Doc Searls and David Weinberger and published in 2000. Its tagline is “the end of business as usual”. The specter of this book is the Suit. The Suit is the Executive VP, a “fat cat”, closed-minded person who sees markets and consumers as on the receiving end of whatever his company wants to say or sell. The “end of business as usual” is this person’s organizational demise, and the social effect of the Internet (and company intranets) is what causes his crumbling.

An overarching topic throughout this book is the conversation: between the members of communities of the marketplace, the members of communities within the workplace, and, best of all, among them all. When I think of what I am looking for from a conversation, the first phrase that comes to mind is “Tell Me Something Good”, hence the bit of collateral entertainment by Rufus and Chaka Khan!

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Discussion – Yin and Yang – Technology and People

I read the article cited here:

Williams, F., Strover, S. and Grant, A. E. (1994). Social aspects of new media technologies. In J. Bryant J. & D. Zillmann (Eds.), Media effects: Advances in theory and research (pp. 463-482). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

I have substituted their phrase “new media” for “social media”.

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Final Project Idea – Taking it for granted: Wi-Fi as a ‘Dial Tone’


Each leap and evolution in technologies and the socialization of them creates expectations of a standard.  One example is “land line” telephony.  The dial tone is the first noise you hear when you lift the phone from the cradle, if the line is working.  If you do not hear the dial tone, you know something is wrong, but you expect to hear a dial tone and generally do not notice it otherwise.  Other examples of technologies we expect to just “be there” include television, radio and, more currently, connectivity, both wireless and cell.

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Prediction, Research and Application

Once I get past the first wave of the “theory and academia” tone and presentation in Christensen and the article from Decision Sciences and start pondering how these writings have proven themselves so far, the points being made become more applicable to the problems I encounter at work. The Uses and Gratifications (UG) paradigm I found of particular interest.

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Trends Project – Citation and article

My first search using some UW Library tools brought me this article.  The citation looks like this:

Schmidt, T., Townsend, A. (2003). Why Wi-Fi wants to be free. Communications of the ACM, Volume 46 (issue 5), pg. 47 – 52

I will be using this article as it discusses a grass-roots movement around building a wireless network that is pervasive and free.

Trends – Discussion Questions #1

  1. When considering boundaries as defined by Lessig, how do we consider internal, psychological boundaries? If Ann Arbor Jake is a quiet, unassuming student at the University of Michigan in “meat-space”, but a murderous misogynist online in cyberspace, does that constitute a single person?  How does it have legal or moral impact in “meat-space”?  Why should it?
  2. Which is more likely to have long-term impact on the “regulability” of digital civilization: governments, business models, ideologies, sociological evolution, technology or something else? Why?
  3. If code can be hacked and laws have loopholes, how stable or reliable can the limn space be and how can that be perceived?  Desirable, undesirable or indeterminate?