By Nathan Rudyk

It's official. Web 2.0 technology and social media thinkers are not confined to the Excited States. While you can swamp your canoe with learning on the blog, podcast and wiki phenomena in social media hotspots like San Francisco and New York, northerners now have mesh: Canada's web 2.0 conference.

May 15th and 16th are the dates and The MaRS Collaboration Centre is the downtown TO setting for this event, which promises to look at Web 2.0's impact on business, journalism, society and politics inside and outside the Canadian context.

Let's pause to drink in that context, and try to stay sober. As of today (March 28th, 2006) Technorati, the blogosphere search engine lists 31.5 million blogs. That's 31.5 million points of presence on the Web. Ten years ago in the Web 1.0 era, that number clocked in at 100,000.

31.5 million is a stupidly high number. So let's play "I'm a CFO who left my 20-year job and pension at an old-economy company to join a dot-com for 18 months and Ruined My Career as the Place Flamed Out (RMCPFO) not to mention my marriage because of that Geek-girl Hottie at the Martini Bar Launch Party (GHMBLP)", and discount Technorati's total by, oh, 90 percent.

We're left with 315,000 very new, very viable points of presence on the Web offering everything from indie music to financial advice to hosted software to merger and acquisition services, a 3X over the undiscounted 1996 estimate of Web 1.0 sites. Apply the cynical CFO chop to the 1996 number and we end up with another wildly exciting, sobriety-testing total of comparative activity between the Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 eras.

Somethin's up. Somethin's happenin'. RMCPFOs and GHMBLPs need not apply. If you're not one of them, and curious about what's to come in the near-future of communications, I suspect you'll want to get caught in the mesh.

The conference is being billed as a "kick-ass Web 2.0 conference,” according to Mathew Ingram, a national columnist, tech writer and blogger at the Globe and Mail. In his latest blog on mesh, Mathew also hypes a couple of days that mix "the best of traditional conferences - the organization, for example, which can help those who might not be quite ready to become part of the show - with the best of the unconference, such as the interactivity and openness to ideas, and the desire to get a real dialogue going with the participants." CAN YOU SAY MARTINI BAR??? Sure, I knew you could.

Ingram's not only unnaturally interested in this stuff, he's one of the mesh organizers, along with fellow tech National Post tech writer/blogger Mark Evans, lawyer/blogger Rob Hyndman, Internet marketing consultant Michael McDerment and Expedia Canada founder and investor Stuart MacDonald. This impressive team has attracted a cross-border mix of Web 2.0 luminaries like Business 2.0 Senior Writer and A-list mega-blogger Om Malik and Dr. Paul Kedrovsky a venture investor with Canada's largest VC company, Ventures West, and a Renfrew-Ontario-boy-made-good who is also the Executive Director of the William J. von Liebig Center in San Diego - a commercialization engine for the University of California.

This doesn't mean we'll stop going to Webfests like Guidewire Group's Blog On but it's great to see some Web 2.0 social media star-making machinery cranking its gears in Canada.

(Nathan Rudyk is President of market2world communications inc., Canada's social media agency, and founder of Ottawa's podcast.)