Google’s Vinton Cerf (“The Father Of The Internet” and VP, Chief Internet Evangelist) shares his thoughts in this 3 minute video (from YouTube) on how brands can leverage social media. He sums it up simply as:
It’s advertising when people do not care about the message.
It’s information when people are interested in the message
The trick for brands is to make people interested in the message. One way is to leverage social media outlets and find people who’s opinion matters and is trusted by a group of people. Then the natural filtering mechanism of friends, family and colleagues will take over and help you disseminate your message as ‘information’.