Meeting someone for the first time is but a natural conversational exercise, where courtesies are fulfilled, questions are asked and people get to know each other.
The same is also true for brands, specially on the context of the social web, where the communication flux stops being top-to-bottom and leans towards a more purely horizontal model. Alas, what some see as opportunity others see as danger, which causes many brands to exist, act and interact in fear. Fact is, there's nothing wrong with a brand being human. No potential PR backlash from a pleasant chat. No crisis from just asking how people are doing. No harm done in knowing how to be nice and being nice indeed.
Why then do many people who speak on behalf of brands tend to do so while sounding stiff, uncomfortable, disconnected, awkward? One of the most common questions I ask community managers is "have you ever seen anyone speak like that?", and if the answer is "no", it's do-over time.
The purpose of social media is to allow us to make brands human after all. Just because technology is becoming ubiquitous doesn't mean we should all sound like robots.