Some good info here.
Hey Randy, really interesting thoughts here. I'd love to discuss your points on a hangout or over a glass of Scotch sometime. I happen to think that Social Media can be a very powerful medium to use for branding, I do most definitely agree that SM is not advertising.
I think that branding is about communicating consistent messages, while sharing the brand voice. Since I believe that an interpersonal interaction IS a form of communication, social media allows that interaction to be a 2-way conversation. For sure the opposite of advertising in the traditional sense. I do think that any and all forms of media are a medium, so while I think the term social media has been misunderstood I do consider it a form of media.
I like the idea of brand-to-consumer and consumer-to-brand, which really is what social media is all about. A two way street. This one made me think, well done.