This blog is called “Open the Dialogue.” The title (and I’m speaking for Tom here since I wasn’t around when he started it) is meant to illustrate the point that so much of what we talk about online is about encouraging communications. Brands are obsessed with harnessing the power of the consumer, be it through social networks, CGC ad contests or some other way to generate a conversation about their brand. All these Web 2.0 tools we use are very cool and very useful for doing just that – online. Too often, though, we lose track of the fact that there’s an offline world as well.

Last Thursday, as I was preparing to get off the train on the way home, I saw that the guy sitting in front of me packing up his laptop. On said laptop was a Feedburner sticker. You know the one. So I said to him, “I’m sorry – I couldn’t help but notice you have a Feedburner sticker on your laptop…You an online guy?” That’s how I met Evan Brown, Aurora resident, attorney and blogger. We talked for a few minutes about blogging and how we both knew FB’s Rick Klau – another guy who lives out in our neck of the Chicago suburbs.

Feedburner – however indirectly – facilitated this conversation. It started us talking. It opened the dialogue. With a sticker. Not a wiki, not a social network, not a widget. A sticker. I love that.