Social media moves so fast, it's hard to keep up. Here are the week's top stories in scan-friendly format:

  • Google+ Onboards 25 Million Users in First Month
  • Nielsen Ratings on the Way to Facebook
  • Are Newt's Twitter Followers Real?
  • Foursquare Continued Popularity With New Usage Figures

Google+ Onboards 25 Million Users in First Month

Google+, the new social networking service from the search giant, has a positive first month in existence. According to comScore, Google+ garnered 25 million users, making it the fastest site to ever do so. The timeframe for gathering 25 million users ended on July 24, so the growth is likely much higher now.

Just for reference, it took Facebook three years to reach the 25 million mark and Twitter took around 30 months to reach that level. Looking into geography, Google+ has around 6 million users in the US and 3.6 million in India. Canada and the United Kingdom have around 1 million users each and Germany has around 920,000 users.

The popularity around Google+ is impressive; however, the key will be to see how sticky the service is in a few months. This "stickyness" factor is something Twitter struggles with as users create accounts out of curiosity, then abandon the service within a few days or weeks after initial signup. Do you use Google+? Can you see yourself active on the service in a month or two?

Nielsen Ratings on the Way to Facebook

Nielsen is a name that is synonymous with TV ratings. The ad rates and popularity of TV shows are measured with accuracy using Nielsen ratings. Soon, we'll get to see these effective measuring tools coming to Facebook in an effort to rate Facebook campaigns on the popular social networking service.

The Nielsen figures will point to "gross rating points" that will gauge the frequency that the audience sees a campaign. Marketers can then buy ads based on gross ratings rather than using traditional web-metrics such as click-through rates and impressions. The Nielsen Online Campaign Ratings will be rolled out in mid-August and even though Facebook will be the first to deliver data to the service, the Nielsen ratings are available on services other than Facebook.

Facebook is a target for online advertising and marketing campaigns, and by involving Nielsen ratings, marketers will have a better way to gauge the success of various campaigns and will help drive decisions as to where to apply marketing dollars in the most effective way.

Are Newt's Twitter Followers Real?

Newt Gingrich, a Republican figure in the United States, is being accused of having more than a million bogus followers on the social networking service Twitter. According to Gawker, Gingrich has used campaign money in an effort to hire spam agencies to boost his Twitter follower count. Apparently an anonymous campaign staffer for Gingrich aired the accusations that are being made public by Gawker.

Looking at a News.com story on the matter, the graph is stunning -- right around May 3, Gingrich's Twitter follower count went up dramatically and suspiciously, too. PeekYou, a company that claims to analyze true follower counts on Twitter, believes his Gingrich's "true" follower count is more likely around 106,055 followers, meaning around 1.2 million followers are fake.

Other notable blogs, including Slate, are defending Gingrich, pointing to his past follower count and implying that it's a true account of his Twitter reach. So, the debate continues on, but this meme has been reccurring in social media circles, causing frustration and entertainment as it rages.

Foursquare Still Popular With New Usage Figures

Recently on Bloomberg TV, Foursquare CEO Dennis Crowley aired some new usage statistics that show Foursquare is alive and well. According to Crowley, Foursquare is seeing more than 3 million check-ins per day, up from 2 million back in February. Considering Foursquare has around 10 million users, if 3 million check-ins occur each day, that's a pretty active user base.

Crowley went on to also report that the service has signed up 500,000 merchants. This means half a million businesses have engaged Foursquare to offer a special through the service to Foursquare users. To be profitable, Foursquare must be in a position to drive revenue through the merchant activities, and having a healthy merchant count is a positive sign.

Foursquare represents a tangible way to interact with an otherwise transient social media audience. If Foursquare can show a successful campaign to drive revenue or customer loyalty through virtual experiences happening in physical locations, they might be able to turn a fun activity of checking-in into a profitable venture for the co-founders and investors of Foursquare.