Monday, August 29, 2005

Getting a Cluetrain on Politics

The Cluetrain Manifesto is an odd site. Writtten a couple of years ago by a bunch of techies - it lays out 95 theses about markets. It fundamentally attacks two things - manufactured markets and manufactured communications. Companies that understand how to communicate not from a manual learned at some "tony conference" will survive. There is a lot of hubris in the manifesto - the revealed word could have been done in a lot fewer premises - but the fundamental truth is there. The reality for markets is that those that get it will do well - those that do not will not.

The same could be true for politicians. In the California environment our last two governors have not gotten that simple fact. When a politician begins an earnest conversation with the voters - they listen and evaluate. They often will respond even when they perceive that the ideas espoused by the person are not their own. But when politicians speak in media bites - and look to the silliness of target communications, they ultimately are seen through by the public. What people want in their politicians is an understanding of a person's views and ideas. They realize that one person or even one administration will not have all the right ideas. But they do not want sound bites or spin.

But what have the media produced - exactly that. And the politicians seeing the power of that medium flock to it like lemmings. And we continue to be skeptical. When a politician understands that, they will be effective.

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