If you're still looking for the best ways to explain to senior management or your team or your coworkers or your spouse what social media does, why it's different than the old way people used computers and the Web, and why people are giving two hoots about it, here are some thoughts to start the conversation. I look at this mostly from a business perspective, but I suspect you'll find these apply to nonprofits and other organizations as well. Further, as I'm fond of saying, social media isn't relegated to the marketing and PR teams. It's a bunch of tools that can be used throughout businesses, in different forms.
Think about the things social media does best:
Blogs allow chronological organization of thoughts, status, ideas. This means more permanence than e-mails.
Podcasts (video and audio) encourage different types of learning—and in portable formats.
Social networks encourage collaboration, can replace intranets and corporate directories, and can promote non-e-mail conversation channels.
Social networks can amass like-minded people around shared interests with little external force, no organizational center, and a group sense of what is important and what comes next.
Social bookmarking means that entire groups can learn of new articles, tools, and other Web properties instead of leaving them all on one machine, one browser, for one human.
Blogs and wikis encourage conversing, sharing, creating.