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

  • LinkedIn Launches Job Application Feature
  • 71% of Online Americans Consume Online Video
  • Colleges Using Social Networking With Great Effect
  • Over Half of Americans Go Online Daily for News

LinkedIn Launches Job Application Feature

LinkedIn, the professional network intended to keep professionals connected, has launched a new plugin that allows companies to embed an "Apply with LinkedIn" button for job hunters to use. The plug-in makes it possible for applicants to market themselves for positions using their LinkedIn profile as their resume.

To be useful to companies and the applicants, the Apply button can be skinned to a company's brand look and feel, have questions added to it and prompt applicants to post a cover letter. The button can be added to any page by using a code snippet.

LinkedIn is the de facto social net for many professionals in the working world, and integrating the application process makes applying for jobs easier for job hunters and also enhances the process for attracting and vetting talent for companies seeking to fill positions. Would you use a LinkedIn button to apply for a position? Why or why not?

71% of Online Americans Consume Online Video

When's the last time you watched a video online, at a site such as YouTube, Vimeo or Flickr? If you've watched videos online, you're in the majority among online Americans as more than 70% respondents report doing so. This represents a 5% increase in the last year and a whopping 39% increase over the last few years, according to the Pew Internet Project.

It's also interesting to see how people are consuming video online. According to Pew in this study, rural Internet users are now just as likely as those in urban or suburban environs to use video sites. Some 68% of those in rural areas and 71% of online urbanites have watched video. Also, non-whites are more likely to use YouTube or Vimeo (or sites like them) than whites, which has been a consistent finding since 2006. Finally, parents are more likely to use video-sharing sites than non-parents.

Just as blogging went mainstream in the mid-2000s, it appears video has gone mainstream in the last year or two. As more Americans get broadband access and can use higher bandwidth activities, rich media use has skyrocketed.

Colleges Using Social Networking With Great Effect

We've established that all ages are using social networking regularly, making it a part of mainstream America. Also, in college recruiting, one would expect universities and colleges to be all over using social media to market and recruit young students. This expectation was validated in a recent report from the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth's Center of Marketing Research. In the report, colleges are using tools such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, blogs and podcasts to reach out and pull students in.

Other stats and insights include how colleges are allowing more interactivity on their sites. Back in 2007, 37% of college blogs didn't allow comments, whereas now it's only 15%. The use of blogs is up dramatically, from 33% in 2007 to 66% in 2010. Also, the use of LinkedIn among college administrators is up over the four-year span -- up to 47% most recently. Looking at the data in aggregate, social networking tool use is up dramatically and returns from those efforts are as well.

To speak to and recruit young students, college administrators are communicating using the tools their target audience engage in and are learning to use these online tools for this specific need. Do you have a student looking at various colleges? Have they been engaged online by an institution?

Over Half of Americans Go Online Daily for News

Also from the "how people are using the Internet" department, ReadWriteWeb recently reported that more than half of Americans are logging on daily to consume news. This news comes off related stories of how online news consumption has surpassed newspapers as a preferred news source.

Of 726 people polled, 56% of those go online for news at least one or twice per day. Furthermore, 26% of folks visit three sites, and 25% visit four or more sites. Of those who go to more than one site, men are more likely to do so over women. Folks who go online for news are spending quite a bit of time doing so, as 37% report viewing news for 15-30 minutes daily and about one-fourth of respondents report spending 30-60 minutes viewing news.

It would have been interesting to see the study go further to see if news viewers are using traditional websites or looking up stories on their mobile devices including tablets and mobile phones. Personally, I use my iPad constantly to use apps such as NPR and CNN to stay connected. Do you read news online? Which methods do you prefer?