Wednesday, April 06, 2005


Though it is difficult to define a system so vast and complex as the Internet, in Christopher Locke's Cluetrain Manifesto, it is less about the technological definition and more about the implication it bares upon our social culture. Locke explains that the Web has a great deal to do with reestablishing each of our identities and most specifically, our voices. In fact, he believes that we, as a culture, “long” for the web and the freedoms in which it grants to the common person.

Longing for the Web speaks volumes about the nature of our culture. We exist in an era of management. This dictation of roles and perceptions fastens people to a norm that is simply unrealistic. We see control of all things as a desirable and practical method of positivity and productivity. Locke explains, “Our management view extends far beyond business. We manage our households, our children, our wildlife, our ecological environment. And that which is unmanaged strikes us as bad: weeds, riots, cancer.”

In a society that is so manipulated by managed means, it almost makes sense that the masses are suddenly rebelling as if this were a public protest years and years in the making. Locke asks why the Internet is suddenly this channel of outletting. The Web could be characterized as a disguised system of anarchy, or organized chaos. It is organized in its framework, yet entirely chaotic in terms of the lack of management the system possesses. Locke claims, “Our longing for the Web is rooted in the deep resentment we feel towards being managed.”

The result of the Web is something that the heads of management systems have to be pulling their hair out over. Chris believes, however, that “Internet technology is the most powerful tool available to businesses today.” What was once a hierarchal system, thanks to the Internet, is quickly developing into an anarchist free-for-all. “The Web has become the new corporate infrastructure, in the form of intranets, turning massive corporate hierarchal systems into collections of many small pieces loosely joining themselves unpredictably.” This situation is quite ironic in that this instability is exactly what our culture fears. We are running to a system that one might expect we would be running from.

As Deb states in her blog, “Though our nation had become crazed and obsessed with the Web, we actually have no idea what it is for.” All that we can conclude is what we’ve seen as a result of its infinite and relentless power over the breakdown of management as we once knew it.


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