… it would be “the conversation”.
Brands have to join the conversation. Companies have to listen to the conversation.
IT DOESN’T EXIST. There are conversations, lots and lots of different conversations. Some of them only have one person in! I mean, especially these days. I was watching that Father Ted last night with the most boring priest ever, where it ends with him locked in a cupboard talking about insurance to himself. OMG HE’S TALKING ABOUT INSURANCE. He is part of THE CONVERSATION around insurance. No! He’s a man in a cupboard.
Sometimes - SOMETIMES - there are really big conversations. Hashtags are a tool for making huge macro-scale things which at last look like conversations. But there’s still no big capital T THE capital C CONVERSATION.
Why does it matter? Why does it get me annoyed? I think it matters because conversations DO matter - and our mania for aggregating things means we’re encouraged to think monolithically about people and what they talk about. We’re happily junking all kinds of context from actual conversations, grinding up their pulped and shattered remnants into metrics and then convincing ourselves we’re still doing something human and engaging because we’re calling it “the conversation”. “The conversation” has the same relationship to a conversation as a huge industrial vat of Minute Maid has to an orange.