I'll keep it short today, I promise.
I just want to show a really good TED-Talk about how Social Media is changing the way people communicate and participate in things politicians and also companies do. This TED-Talk was held by Clay Shirky in June 2009.
Clay Shirky says, that we are moving away from the one-way communication (company=sender, people/consumer=listener) to a multi-way of communication (company/people/consumer=sender/listener). Additionally there is the obvious possibility that people become senders without evening listing to the companies message, but listening to other consumers. The challenge for companies right now is to stop the era of top down communication and become a listener and speaker on the same level consumers are. Although Mr. Shirky is generally talking about politics there is no doubt, that we can associate the same with companies and consumers.
This is what we talk about here and partly talk about here and here.
Enough talking, let Clay Shirky do the rest: