The return of the manifesto

A new site's recently launched called ChangeThis which hopes to, "challenge the way ideas are created and spread." They propose to do this by creating and disseminating manifestos on various topics of interest and importance.

We're betting that a significant portion of the population wants to hear thoughtful, rational, constructive arguments about important issues. We're certain that the best of these manifestos will spread, hand to hand, person to person, until these manifestos have reached a critical mass and actually changed the tone and substance of our debate.

I've been a fan of manifestos for a long time, and Kill Your Children (about the dangers of sugar) was very interesting. But I can't help but wonder why all the manifestos they offer are Adobe PDF files. They certainly look beautiful — nice colors and font treatments — but they're kind of a pain because you have to download them and launch another program to view them.

It seems to me that if the goal is to spread the manifestos, they should be presented in the easiest-to-spread manner possible, like plain text or HTML. Great manifestos of the past (Communist, Cluetrain) were about substance. They didn't look great, but they spread like crazy. That's not to say a nice looking manifesto won't also spread, of course, but I believe they won't spread as effectively because of the additional hurdles to read and distribute them. All told, I still look forward to seeing how it progresses and what topics they chose to address. It's an optimistic endeavor, and I love optimistic endeavors! [via evhead]