“What the Internet Is and How to Stop Mistaking It for Something Else”. That is the description of World of Ends written by Doc Searls and David Weinberger, co-authors of The Cluetrain Manifesto.
World of Ends is not new. It is more than a few years old but still as relevant as it was when it was posted. Even more so these days given the interest in digital and social media and the whole net neutrality debate.
The essay outlines and speaks to the following 10 points:
1. The Internet isn’t complicated
2. The Internet isn’t a thing. It’s an agreement.
3. The Internet is stupid.
4. Adding value to the Internet lowers its value.
5. All the Internet’s value grows on its edges.
6. Money moves to the suburbs.
7. The end of the world? Nah, the world of ends.
8. The Internet’s three virtues:
a. No one owns it
b. Everyone can use it
c. Anyone can improve it
9. If the Internet is so simple, why have so many been so boneheaded about it?
10. Some mistakes we can stop making already
I must admit I had forgotten about World of Ends. I recall reading some time ago, but had let it fall of the rails as a point of reference. That was until Michael O’Conner Clarke, new colleague & friend at Thornley Fallis and author of Uninstalled, pointed it out the other day. I thought it was well worth sharing.
The essay is simple but thought-provokingly complex (as one would expect from Doc and David). It argues that “All we need to do is pay attention to what the Internet really is.” A read through of the comments and conversations around World of Ends shows the range of thoughts and opinions the mini-manifesto stirred.
Now, if you have not yet read The Cluetrain Manifesto (and what excuse could you have when it is available online for free!) World of Ends is an excellent way to jump in and see how these guys think. It is not about marketing, PR or any one particular business model. It is about all of those things and more. Good food for the brain.
When you take into consideration that the Internet, and how we use it, has come long way over the last 10-15 years, there is still a long road ahead. A very long one. Marketers need to keep in mind that the we need perspectives other than our own to help guide us. The Cluetrain and World of Ends bring an abundance of perspective and ideas.
When I find myself explaining the significance of The Cluetrain (mostly to my students in the Canadian Marketing Association eMarketing Certificate Course, or to audiences at various conferences), I relay my own personal experience and enlightenment. I explain that my thinking about the Internet used to be categorized as “it’s just another channel”. It is not.
Reading the book changed my paradigm of thought about the Internet. And, brought perspective to the possibilities surrounding the brilliant notion that “markets are conversations”. If you read it, you know. If you haven’t, you should.