While all of us in this new/social media world talk a lot about how companies are no longer fully in control of their brand messaging, I wonder sometimes just how many actual people get that. Take these two examples:

Chicago Tribune columnist/blogger Eric Zorn recently converted his family’s home computing from Windows machines to Macs. This past Halloween, his son Ben expressed his approval of that decision in a seasonally appropriate way.

Josh Hallett points out that there’s a sudden spike in Flickr pictures tagged “shuffle” as Apple’s new iPod Shuffle starts arriving on doorsteps. As Josh says, expect more once they’re available in stores.

So ask yourself this afternoon: What have you done that’s going to generate this sort of spontaneous celebration of your brand? Is the product worth talking about even absent any advertising? Have you made it easy for people to express their fondness for the product?

Some food for thought.