Last week I attended the opening keynote at the Ragan Social Media Conference in Las Vegas (#socmedlv on Twitter) and a friend turned to me and said “I wonder what they’re doing about Al not being here.” Turns out, the conference team didn’t even know Al wasn’t coming to speak for his 11 am slot that morning. I filled in with 30 minutes notice.

It was fun. I had all this great research and case studies we’d collected in the past several weeks for a client – new thoughts on how to use social media for employee stakeholders. Most social media gurus are focused on the external side. I however, believe that the value to our organizations could be bigger on the inside.

I left the conference on Friday with one other huge observation – many of us who speak or consult are sometimes too focused on the coolness of the widgets and the need for strategy (my focus usually on the latter). Sometimes, people just need some ideas to get them started. Sometimes, we just need to brainstorm and share ideas about how organizations can use social media inside. It seems simplistic, but this stuff is complicated and conceptual – if you can’t conceive of the potential, how can you convince your leadership it will support business goals?

I believe this is why I got such positive response to my run through case studies and ideas in my fill-in session. People just want to conceptualize it all. Don’t tell me to sell it because it’s cool; don’t expect me to make the business connection if I don’t understand the potential.

We have a long way to go on this whole social networking adventure – let’s make sure we bring the entire group along for the ride!