One of the things I love most at my job are workshops and talks. I think I learn even more from my audiences than they learn from me, because it's always important to get confronted with real peoples' concerns and findings and experiences. Even if you "live" social media like I do for about ten years now,- and even more if you often meet and talk with other social media guys, you will never get the real value and the real changes social brings to your internet experience if you are not in regular and close contact to them who some of my internet friends call "offliners".
This might be one reason why I am not an evangelist (at least anymore) and have some strong concerns regarding Facebook and privacy and data protection (or a realistic view at this as I would call it). Nevertheless I am convinced that social media has not only value for our private lifes but also for communications. OK, this is not surprising anymore. But the goal today is not anymore to - well - bring brands and companies into social media but to have a closer look at platforms and tools and their value for different communicational needs.
Saying this I tend to look at Facebook e.g. not because it's social media but although there are conversations (that are more often than not collatoral damage of a communication program involving Facebook). And at blogs (yes, still at blogs) for reputational and SEO purposes.
Taking the point of view of the average internet user (and before that: getting to know this point of view) helps to move into action. My experience is that consultants and agencies are able to realize the more digital and social projects the earlier (as in years) they stopped being evangelists. What doesn't mean having stopped educating the communications community.
Next week I'm giving a short talk at the annual IBTTA conference in Berlin called "Social Media and the Human Voice: Building Reputation Through True Engagement in a Changing Environment". And here is the "slides":