October 3, 2003

The Clue Left Off the Cluetrain

Doc Searls, who has to be one of our Living Internet Treasures, gives us one of those fascinating, to the side, insights in Reconstructive Journalism October 3, 2003

One of my theses that didn't make it into Cluetrain, because my co-authors correctly considered it off-topic, was this: You are where you come from. The second person singular I'm using here - - the you - - refers to the organizational as well as the personal personality. It's what I was talking about when I wrote the email to Dave that became Doc Searls on Steve Jobs. Apple always came from the Steves, but Jobs especially. It'll still be his company, even (should the company survive) after he's dead and his portrait is hanging in the lobby of the company headquarters.

Leaving aside the insight into the core nature of Apple (Who else would have put an otherwise perfectly good computer into a Lucite cube?), Searles is on target with "You are where you come from." How many times have we heard, "If you know where I'm coming from?" and nodded a vague assent even though we haven't the slightest clue?

Perhaps this argues for a more detailed use of the "About Me" page everywhere. (We could even laminate them and hang them around our necks on a lanyard for easy access at conventions and on the street.)

Newspapers and magazines are in the habit of including a "Where this writer is from" squiblet at the bottom of non-staff articles that sometimes give a slight clue as to where the writer is coming from. Alas this format often hides more than it reveals. ( "H. Beowulf Schniptule is a staff analyst at the Institute for Advanced Smegma Studies") More often or not you've got to google Beowulf, and then hop around their links to get even the hint of a clue. And when it comes to the staff of said magazines and newspapers, well, your impression of individual writers can only be derived from your impression of the magazine.

Perhaps, in order to know where pundits and reporters are coming from, we should develop an International Bias Symbol code similar to the driving symbols. Then we could just attach them at will to ops and to eds and gain a little more insight into where there be dragons in the increasingly large and uncharted infoseas of the world.

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BTW, just what were the other clues that didn't catch the Cluetrain? It strikes me that it is just about time to give that hoary manifesto another look.

Posted by Van der Leun at October 3, 2003 11:03 AM
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