Blogging and the Cluetrain Manifesto in local media

It was only yesterday that I was ranting about how our media takes it sweet time recognising and writing about global phenomena and bringing some pretty significant developments to the attention of South Africans on the street and in our boardrooms.  Both Moneyweb and IOL have reported on blogging (they refer to it more as “citizen media”) in the last week or so and the reports are encouraging, if a bit overdue.  Moneyweb focussed on some of the business applications of a blog, making reference to instances where blog posts have highlighted people’s experiences of OUTsurance and First for Women.  The article begins with the following:

Some people are calling it consumer-generated media (CGM). Others prefer citizen media.

Regardless of what you call it, there’s no denying that a confluence of developments in the technological and social spaces is propagating a new breed of customer.

A customer that is smart, informed, connected and that has, thanks to the rapidly evolving, people-centric World Wide Web, a platform on which to spread their opinions and messages to thousands, even millions, of like-minded consumers.

The Cluetrain Manifesto (, published in 1999 by some forward-thinking marketing/media minds, prophesied this shift:

“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.”

The Social Customer Manifesto, a follow-up echo to the sentiments of Cluetrain, helps us understand how social software tools (things like blogs, wikis and podcasts) have given this new breed of customer a vehicle to spread its message – globally.

I have just read the “Cluetrain Manifesto” (well, I listened to the six hour audiobook on my iPod) and I am really pleased to see the principles of the book picked up by our mainstream business media.  Cluetrain talks about some pretty important things and these are things local business needs to think about carefully.  I actually wasn’t aware of the Social Customer Manifesto, published by Christopher Carfi.  Definitely looks like a site worth subscribing to.  Anyway, back to the point of this post.  I am really impressed with IOL’s and Moneyweb’s articles.  Moneyweb even introduced the Chuck Norris phenomenon to those who have not yet been caught up in its many tendrils (the lucky few):

For those of you who don’t understand, you’re out of the loop and should spend more time with your teenage kids. Isuzu is piggy-backing the ‘Chuck Norris’ epidemic that has dominated email inboxes and farcical one-liners, around the world, for a few months now.

I can just imagine the conversation between the ad agency and Isuzu execs around the boardroom table… “please trust us on this one, guys. Chuck is big”. Well, bravo to Isuzu and the brave advertisers for a risky but successful campaign. Pics of the billboards have found their way on to citizen-driven blogs countrywide.

The IOL article focusses on the growing South African blogosphere:

In the past three years, blogs have grown from being online diaries to becoming support and debating forums.

Blogs cover any topic, from the Baby Jordan and Jacob Zuma trials to South Africa’s dismal cricket performance and inflation.

Tony Carr of the Centre for Educational Technology at the University of Cape Town said blogs began in the early 90s but only took off in a big way in the United States in 1999.

He said statistics showed that the number of blogs worldwide stands at more than 30 million – and this number doubles every five and a half months.

He said the number of blogs was increasing fast, and it had been alleged that a blog was being registered every second.

He attributed the huge numbers of sites to many of the bloggers updating their sites only once or twice and then leaving them dormant.

Carr said blogs were far from representative of society at large but did offer “useful and revealing insights concerning the nature of topical debates”.

“Regular bloggers need reliable Internet access, some basic computer skills, confidence about use of the Internet, the audacity to believe that their thinking should be shared with the world, and time to blog.

“In South Africa this represents a small minority of the population, but this minority is growing and is increasingly diverse.”

These reports are significant because they not only show that blogs have a wider application and are not just fanciful writings of pimply teenagers about their high school crush.  The Moneyweb report also introduced the very important work of the Cluetrain Manifesto to business and that is an introduction that is long overdue.

Now if only the media could pick up on these developments as they occur at their point of origin and not just when the tidal wave approaches our shores at high velocity, threatening to undermine our current perceptions.

(via Mark’s Digital Farm)

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