Help them, help you
What happens to brands when the sun never sets online? How can they possibly manage an audience that comes on and offline with the turn of the earth? The Gap Logo 'event' unfolded over four days, but with Brits, New Yorkers and West Coasters all waking up and weighing in every 6 hours, there could be no respite, no time for Gap to gather their thoughts and work out what to do. Exhausted and defeated, they wound up retracting and apologizing - letting more people down than if they'd come back fighting.
By the same token, Foursquare had an unfortunate outage which no doubt gave Facebook Places an unprecedented boost and marked the end of the era when we were happy just to show up someplace without broadcasting it.
Maybe, however, check-in services will be the salvation for brands. As people check into emotions and feelings as well as places, events, products and services, brands will be able to get a hold on what's really going on out there. People feeling angry after lunch in Manchester? Say something funny or wait till 6pm. Everyone jumped up in Austin - give them somewhere to let off some steam.
Powerful global brands of the future will be able to monitor their worldwide audience in real-time via a range of new techniques and advanced date visualization. Brands will discover a broad visibility which allows them to respond and react to their customers on a minute to minute, nation to nation, moving world basis. Big Brother really is watching you now.