I live in an environment where anything related to the internet is automatically suspect, and whenever I try to introduce an idea (say, to a family member) they immediately take a standpoint of opposition. It really doesn't matter what it is. Wikipedia, for example. I only managed reluctant acceptance that it isn't a bad thing, entirely.
While my experience isn't wide, it's what I've come to feel represents an expression of what "normal" people think when they are confronted with anything that isn't part of their normal world. They view the internet with suspicion because they see bad things happen in their own world and they believe it must be much worse on the internet, given the relative anonymity afforded here (The mainstream media certainly helps reinforce that view). However I believe they have a skewed idea that normal means static.
So, this is the attitude I believe we generally face when attempting to explain Bitcoins to anyone out there, and due to its complexity and the complexity of markets it's hard to find a few choice words that will get their 'buy in' to listen and absorb more. Particularly if they already have a hectic life with family and work etc and not a lot of extra head room for radically new technical concepts.
Given all that, it's my aim to mention Bitcoins as a value-transfer mechanism, not a long term value storage mechanism or investment. For a short time span, say the amount of time you might want to hang onto cash in your wallet, or on your laundry card, or on your subway card, the value needs to be pretty stable. And I believe that's the best way to get the word out on Bitcoins, as a value transfer mechanism that can compliment our current uses of cash in day-to-day life. A debit card is tied to an identity, but Bitcoins don't have to be so rooted. I'm thinking of the future wherein one might pay for groceries or shoes with what amounts to a universal gift card, anonymous and re-loadable.
I answer the "Bitcoins have no intrinsic value" question by suggesting the person cut up their credit card and debit card and then tell me those two pieces of plastic have no value. It's a facilitator of trade, and that has value. I separate this from the concept of market value.
I am fully on board with sensible evangelizing, but to get the initial hook for a conversation about it, maybe a good strategy is to begin with short-term cash-type value transactions, and leave the investment concept for those who are curious enough to ask about it.TL;DR
: I'm a noob, so is everyone I know but they're instinctively skeptical of everything, and since Bitcoins is complex I'd rather focus on short-term cash transactions as a vehicle for initiating conversation.
Thanks fer readin'