Social media moves so fast, it's hard to keep up. Here are the week's top stories in scan-friendly format:
- Don't Believe All Quotes You See Online
- Is Twitter a Traditional News Replacement?
- Facebook Serves 1/3 of All Online Ads
- Reddit Passes Digg Traffic
Don't Believe All Quotes You See Online
In the aftermath of the death of Osama bin Laden, people around the world rushed online to share feelings and impressions as a result of the action in Pakistan. Some people expressed relief, others expressed excitement, but a quote from Martin Luther King was prominent on Facebook, and apparently the quote was completely erroneous.
The quote read: “I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.
Turns out, the above quote was a lumped-together summary of words spoken by King, but the quote above was not spoken verbatim. The quote originated from a Twitter user named Jessica Dovey, who is apologetic about the whole situation.
This story goes along with what our mothers told us growing up: Don't believe everything you read. Unfortunately in this situation, emotionally charged people retweeted or posted on their Facebook wall something that they thought was real, but in the end, wasn't.
Is Twitter a Traditional News Replacement?
On Sunday night, as people around the world tuned into various news services to find out more about the event leading up to Osama bin Laden's death, Twitter was a service that raised awareness among users. So, is Twitter now a news source, supplanting other sources such as TV and radio?
Adding to this train of thought, the first credible report of bin Laden's death came from a tweet from Keith Urbahn, a former official serving under Donald Rumsfeld. Also, the situation was inadvertently live-tweeted by a resident of the city in which bin Laden was found to be hiding.
Even though Twitter was the first source in some people's eyes, the new social networking tool was more an amplifier of traditional media, not a replacement. Twitter activity, typically, cannot be verified and messages are sent by street-level individuals who are not journalists. While Tweets and pictures posted to Twitter are often sourced in reports, the traditional media is still the best source.
Facebook Serves One-Third of All Online Ads
Facebook is a huge marketing force. It is true that search is still a great way to present targeted ads to audiences, but Facebook is coming on strong, taking names along the way. According to comScore Ad Metric, in the first quarter of 2011, Facebook serviced one out of every three ad impressions in the United States. Diving into the numbers a bit, out of the 1.1 trillion ads serviced to US Internet users, 345 billion were displayed on Facebook. No other online property comes close to Facebook, with Yahoo showing a 10% share, Microsoft displaying 5% of online ads and AOL coming in a tragic 3%.
Looking forward, Facebook's ad market share is likely to go nowhere but up. The company is now getting inventive with how ads are displayed, including ads that show up like News items rather than typical display advertisements. Have you ever clicked an ad on Facebook? Do you find the ads displayed are relevant to you?
Reddit Passes Digg Traffic
Digg was the quintessential web 2.0 company a few years ago. The hot startup served content that was fresh, interesting and Digg.com had a huge star in Kevin Rose behind the service, adding to its popularity and rise to the top of online news destinations.
Since that time, Digg has staggered and struggled, and Reddit is now capturing a huge share of the new seeking population. According to several Internet traffic analysis firms, Reddit has passed Digg in terms of page views. According to Alexa, Reddit is now the 117th most popular site online, while Digg has fallen to 138. Also, according to Quantcast and Compete, Reddit has attained more traffic than Digg.
This new reality just goes to show how constant iteration and feature improvements are necessary to keep a web audience engaged. Digg has been struggling to find a direction and is also losing key employees. Also, the user-led revolt against the new Digg late last year didn't help matters at all.
Hopefully Digg can re-establish a relationship and traffic from its audience. If you're a Digg user, what would bring you back?