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

  • MSN Gets Redesigned, Adds Twitter/Facebook
  • Twitter's Cost to Businesses: £1.4 Billion?
  • Yammer Powers 50,000 Enterprise Micro-Blogging Networks
  • Run Your Own Google Wave Server

MSN Gets Redesigned, Adds Twitter/Facebook

Microsoft unveiled a new version of recently, making changes to the existing design and adding some new bits as well. What is new and exciting over at MSN? At first glance of the new preview, you'll see that the design of the site has been simplified dramatically. Also, the ties to search are much more prevalent, with the Bing logo prominently placed at the top center of the page.

In an effort to be a more connected, social networking friendly web portal, has integrated Twitter and Facebook status message updates on the right hand side of the new MSN home page. Additionally, by entering your location, can pull in local news for your area.

While these changes might seem minute and unimportant, attracts a lot of traffic (in upwards of 80-100 million US Visitors per month), so many web users will take note of the new changes. This is a good move for, as the service needed a refresh in order to stay relevant in today's web portal marketplace.

Twitter's Cost to Businesses: £1.4 Billion?

According to an IT services group based in the UK, Twitter and other social networking costs British businesses £1.38 Billion in lost productivity each year. Of those workers interviewed, more than half reported that they use social networking sites for personal use during the working hours. On average, workers reported an average of 40 minutes per week spent perusing social networking sites.

It seems that businesses and enterprises are mixed as to how to approach social networking use at work. While some companies in the United States have banned social networking altogether, three quarters of the respondents in the Morse poll reported that they had not been approached with specific policies or guidelines with regards to Twitter.

Even though Twitter and other social networks might be seen as a time drain, such tools are no different than other office distractions such as office chit-chat, the employee lounge and the coffee machine. It's important for companies to evaluate their policies, but keep in mind that Twitter, Facebook and MySpace are just another distraction to add to an already well-populated list.

Yammer Powers 50,000 Enterprise Micro-Blogging Networks

Micro-blogging services have gone from niche product to mainstream in the last few years. Twitter gets the most press, but Yammer, the enterprise focused micro-blogging service is continuing to chug away and win over users and fans.

Yammer recently announced that 50,000 networks have taken off on their service, with about 25-50 people on each of the networks. When asked by ReadWriteWeb, Yammer officials declined to say how many of these networks are paying customers, keeping us in the dark about revenue and the long-term viability of the company.

While other companies focused on enterprise web 2.0 tools have added micro-blogging tools to their suites, Yammer has stayed true to concentrating on their core service, improving it over time.

We at CMSWire use Yammer to communicate amongst our staff here and find the tool to be quite useful.

Run Your Own Google Wave Server

Google Wave is a new technology that promises to enhance communication amongst team members on the Web. It's been described as a functional mix of instant messaging, image sharing and collaborative document sharing. Wave is also easy to mashup with other services because of its development model.

Another feature that makes Wave useful is the idea of federation. That is, you can run a Wave server on your worksite for use amongst your co-workers, and then allow for use with other Wave servers across the web. Much like the way email servers run now, federated Wave servers allow their users to swap messages and media back and forth.

If you have the technical ability to, Google has opened up the Wave Federation protocol and made it possible for you to run a Wave server at your organization. The Wave system is written in Java and can thereby be run on a Mac, Windows or Linux-based computer.