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July 23, 2004

Manifesting Manifestos

When Seth Godin’s call for interns went out last April, it was understated. He unassumingly and vaguely asked for three interns to help him research, design, and start a publishing venture.

Little did we know these “beavers” at Camp Godin would be on the ground floor of something big, potentially really big. (Hey, if Jim Collins can have “chimps” then Seth can have “beavers.” Dig?)

Come next month, through the work of Seth and his beavers, we will see the next phase in the development of the Ideavirus with the launching of ChangeThis.

From what I have read, “ChangeThis is building a platform for the launch of important new ideas. Ideas that will spread far and alter the tone of our conversations. Ideas that will change minds.”

ChangeThis seeks to “…help people change their minds to a more productive point of view…” through sharing manifestos with influentials, who, if compelled, will read and pass so others can be influenced by the arguments contained in the manifesto. In other words … we can expect a steady stream of Blog Fodder from ChangeThis.

Central to the ChangeThis platform is the development and spread of manifestos. Looks like we’ll all found out more next month how we can use ChangeThis to help spread our ideas, our manifestos.

But before we can spread a manifesto, we need to first learn how to write a manifesto. Below is a slightly abridged Manifesto on Manifestos from the ChangeThis website.

Manifesto on Manifestos
abridged version by johnmoore

Principle #1
A manifesto shouldn’t be angry. (But it can make you angry)

Principle #2
A manifesto should be based upon facts and should present a rational, thoughtful argument. (When finished reading a manifesto, one should be able to make the argument themselves.)

Principle #3
A manifesto should contain both hope and a plan.

Principle #4
A manifesto should be as short as possible and as long as necessary.

Principle #5
A manifesto must be of utmost importance to a specific hive of sneezers – a subset of people who like to spread ideas. (If the manifesto fails to stimulate this group, it will never reach the masses.)

Principle #6
A manifesto won’t convert the masses immediately. If it could, then they’d already be converted. (The successful manifesto never persuades the masses all by itself. Instead, it lays the groundwork for the masses to persuade themselves.)

Principle #7
A manifesto doesn’t pull any punches or talk down to its readership. (The successful manifesto makes it clear to the casual reader the essence of the argument, and lays the seeds of doubt necessary to get the conversation started.)

Principle #8
Manifestos must be heretical. (If you’re just going to say what everyone else already knows, no one’s going to pay attention.)

SOURCE: ChangeThis website

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