By Nathan Rudyk

Last year, The Economist explored the "Web 2.0 bubble" and grudgingly acknowledged that social media compelled mainstream media to adjust to an audience eager to "talk back, to write back, to discuss, to link".

At the start of 2007, Time Magazine took a more confident stab at understanding the Web 2.0 era, describing "community and collaboration on a scale never seen before" and naming "You" who creates user-generated content as Time Person of the Year. The Time cover story prompted me to write a post showing how brands that "get" or embrace Web 2.0 win, while those that ignore the game-changing phenemonen lose.

BusinessWeek has now entered the fray with a story called "It's the Conversation Economy, Stupid" that brings it all home for marketers. It's an inspired piece by David Armano, an American creative director.

He accurately notes that social media facilitates conversation and that, "Conversation leads to relationships and relationships lead to affinity." That's capital B brand affinity. The stuff that makes iPods and MacBooks objects of desire, and Zunes (the iPod-like thingees from Microsoft) and Inspiron XPSs (the MacBook-like thingees from Dell) objects of pity, as in "Why didn't you get the good one?".

One takeaway from the BusinessWeek story here is a potential renaming of our "Communications Strategists" to "Conversation Architects". Take a look at the current BusinessWeek and see if you agree it's a good idea. And while you're at it, ponder whether you think this is all a magnficent bubblebath of branding hype or The New Way Things Are for marketing communications. Enjoy.

(Nathan Rudyk is President of market2world communications inc., Canada's Web 2.0 tech product launch and public relations agency, and founder of Ottawa's tech business podcast)