Thanks for your thinking. I agree with much of it, but to call social media "identical to telephone" technology reveals a fundamental mis-understanding of the tool.
To share a message with 1,000 people via a telephone would take weeks. To share it via social media takes 10 seconds. The result is that information -- grassroots opinions, knowledge, etc. -- is transmitted so quickly with so much traceability that it renders 1-way broadcast mediums obsolete for communications (but not necessarily entertainment).
Yes, offering up contests, polls, useful sponsored apps, etc. are ways for brands to get talked about and shared (as is advertising on ATL - the ideal was to have folks talking about our ads around the water cooler and on the phone), but I remain convinced that the fundamental, underlying nature of what is happening when this happens willingly amongst members in a social network does NOT equate to marketers feeling free to mess about inside these media. To Phil's point about what our "Holy Grail" is, we WANT people to talk about our brands and marketing efforts in social media/networks, but that is NOT the same as trying to manipulate the conversations happening within the media.