OK, so, lets be clear: I started in this industry when the DEC MicroVAX was considered controversial and the vampire tap was the pinnacle of networking technology. So, needless to say, “Web 2.0″ and “Social Media” left me a bit skeptical and certainly scratching my head (thank you @deanna24 and @ethanbauley for your patience!).But, I have to tell you, having been an active participant for the last year and watching things evolve, I am a believer–I think we have seen a permanent shift in how folks interact with each other and how companies interact with customers. Speaking from experience, that shift can certainly be brain stretch, but I think it is a change for the better for both companies and customers.Colin McNamara’s recent post on using our online config tool is a great example of pulling all the pieces together via blogging, embedded video, and Twitter to educate readers–at the same time, we get to immediately understand what works and what does not work for customers and sharply reduce the cycle time to address issues. Same thing last week, when I could follow the real time conversations around our C-Scape analyst event by following #cscape.I think the further mainstreaming of social media is illustrated by a recent article in the WSJ on the Secrets of Marketing in a Web 2.0 World, which will help more companies feel comfortable engaging and helping them engage more effectively, although I think there is still a while to go–even in Cisco, traction for social media is somewhat uneven. For me, the most interesting aspect right now are the real-time, distributed, stream of consciousness conversations happening on Twitter and Friendfeed. I was following an interesting thread this morning on we will need to adapt rules of engagements with folks active on Twitter and use mechanisms we use with other media outlets such a content embargos. A great indicator of how the medium is evolving to meet the needs of both company and customer.