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

  • Foursquare Rakes in US$ 20 Million in Funding
  • Yelp vs. Foursquare
  • Facebook Unveils Hovercards
  • Social Media Use Amongst Veterans

Foursquare Rakes in US$ 20 Million in Funding

If you're into location-based services on your mobile device, you're probably aware of Foursqaure. The company has made a game out of checking in, creating an addictive service that seems to be taking hold. Yesterday, Foursquare announced an influx of VC cash to help take the service to the next level including engineering and feature add-ons.

The people behind the funding is an impressive group, including Andreeson Horowitz, Union Square Ventures and O'Reilly. The funding parties see a huge opportunity as more consumers adopt smartphones and Foursquare figures out how to cash in on the fad.

Foursquare is a service whereby you check in to locations and build up mayorships and points. Some business are offering incentives, such as discounts for mayors and syndication deals, revealing a potential revenue stream for services such as Facebook.

 

Yelp vs. Foursquare

Yelp is a site that has been collecting and socializing location reviews for years. The site has been around for so long that it is synonymous with restaurant reviews. Now, with Foursquare starting to compete in the check-in game, is Yelp in trouble? Not so, according to Yelp officials.

While it is true (as noted above) that Foursquare has created a fun game out of 'checking-in" to places, Yelp has a large user base of over 2 million unique visitors and 1.8 registered users. As Marshall Kirkpatrick points out, this makes Yelp's user base 15 times larger than Foursquare's. Also, Yelp recently added the ability to check-in to a location in their mobile app, taking some functionality away from Foursquare.

Also, to its advantage, Yelp has a base of businesses that support the service and see it as a way to interact with customers. With reviews and other useful information, Yelp goes beyond Foursquare's limited "check-in" functionality.

What about you - do you use Yelp over Foursquare? What service do you like best?

Facebook Unveils Hovercards

In a step towards advancing user experience, Facebook has unveiled a feature that will lead to less clicks when discovering people. Now in Facebook, if you hover over a person's name, a little business card-sized box appears, showing you mutual friends and pictures that add more context to a person's name while online. Before this enhancement, you likely had to click on their name to pull up their information, losing the information you had on screen before.

This may sound like a small step, but Facebook is trying to everything in its power to keep users engaged while on the social networking site. As their analytics have shown, Facebook does a remarkable job of having users linger on their site, and this step will further drive this use. Also, by easily finding common friends, you are very likely to add that person and further become more active on Facebook.

Social Media Use Amongst Veterans

In a world of so many options in social media, how are real-world folks using these communication tools to stay in touch? Mashable recently examined this phenomenon and found some interesting perspectives.

Whereas phone books and microfiche used to be the tools to find old comrades and friends, Facebook and other online tools expedite this process. Active military personnel are using Facebook to stay connected with friends and family back home, using this as a lifeline to stay abreast of marriages, children and other life events. In other cases, communities of sites are forming to keep certain segments of the veteran population connected such as PTSD support groups.

It is nice to stay up to date with our friends and exchange party pictures, but it is amazing to see how these communication technologies affect real folks. Do you know a military member who depends on social media for staying connected? What tools does he or she use?