Larry Weber, Chairman of the W2Group, was one of the keynotes at Red Herring's CMO 2006 Conference. I was so excited by his ideas -- and in violent agreement. Weber built the world's largest high tech PR firm, Weber Shandwick, then sold it off to begin again with a new effort focused next generation marketing services.
Weber began by saying that he thinks the Web is not in its 2.0 phase but in 3.0. The first phase was site building, the 2nd, eCommerce and search and the 3rd and current phase, the Social Web, the world of communities.
In the traditional PR model, Weber remarked, a company tries to influence the media, analysts, investors, customers and partners via the mass media. The role of marketing is to influence opinion. In Web 3.0 companies, and marketing people, will be in turn influenced by their digital constituencies.
"What characterizes a community?" Wikipedia defines community "as the sharing of ideas, intent, belief, resources, preferences or a multitude of other conditions that that the members share in common...."