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The human problem that has been amplified with the expansion of online social communications is the absence of listening. One of the most interesting things I noted from the recent developers presentation of Google Wave was that they have built in functionality that allows you to start generating a response before the person you're communicating with has actually finished their reply. This effectively replicates one of the least useful characteristics of human communication i.e. a speedy response rather than a considered one, that takes into account what has been communicated, not what you think is going to be communicated. All good communication is about listening first and responding appropriately. My biggest challenge with my clients at the moment is holding them back from building platforms from which to hail, before they even know what people want to hear. If we apply this to brands. Brands are trying to establish themselves within social environments but they are falling into the trap of making themsleves far too conspicuous and therefore unapproachable. They need to stand back, listen, restructure their offering accordingly, then let everyone know that. If not people will just switch them off for ever.