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

  • One in Every 4.5 Minutes Online Spent On Social Media
  • Seniors Feel Very Comfortable Online
  • Twitter Releases Places Feature
  • Facebook Expands on Local Networks Turf

One in Every 4.5 Minutes Online Spent On Social Media

We've seen some amazing stats when it comes to the popularity of social media. We have Facebook, YouTube and Wikipedia amongst the popular online brands and Facebook being the 2nd most visited website. Nielsen recently released a report that says the world people spend 110 billion minutes on social network and blog sites.

Digging further, the company asked how much time the average visitor spends on each of these sites, accounting for 22 percent of all the time spent online or one in every four and half minutes. Also, social networking and blog sites were visited by 75% of all global consumers who go online. Brazil has the highest percentage of social networking users at 86%, Italy comes in second at 78%.

These figures show an online population who *loves* social networking and craves to be connected to friends and colleagues. Also, it shows that blogs and social networks continue to be great channels for getting the word out for organizations and brands.

Seniors Feel Very Comfortable Online

The long held theory has been that senior citizens embrace the Internet for the purpose of keeping up with their kids and grandkids. However, a new study put out by the American Association of Retired Persons, or AARP, says baby boomers are quite comfortable online, are engaging in sites such as Facebook and love being on their computer.

AARP asked 1,360 adults over the phone and found that 27% of Americans 50 and over use social networks. Facebook is the most popular property amongst this age group, but the research also mentions LinkedIn, Twitter and MySpace. How did these seniors find out about social networking? Most of them (70%) were told about it by a child or grandchild.

More groups of Americans are embracing the social web, and this study shows that older populations are flocking online for many of the same reasons younger populations do. Are your parents or grandparents on Facebook or some other site, what do you think? Please leave a comment below.

Twitter Releases Places Feature

In an effort to take their location services to the next level, Twitter has released a new feature to highlight tweets in a certain location.

As of a few days ago, desktop and mobile users can give their Tweets a physical location from "Twitter Places". Also, users can add new locations to the database of Twitter Places.

With the new functionality, users can see all tweets given around a specific location and can also show your tweets (and potential instant review) from specific restaurants and shops. In time, Twitter Places will be integrated with Foursquare and Gowalla, allowing cool integration between all these geolocation services.

An API will allow Twitter Places to be rolled into 3rd-party applications, making the functionality usable by more users who don't utilize Twitter's web interface.

Facebook Expands on Local Networks Turf

We have seen the global expansion of Facebook into geographies outside of Western Europe and North America. Looking at data released recently, Facebook's growth hasn't stagnated, in fact, it continues to pick up steam. Facebook is continuing to get more popular in the United States and other Western countries.

Looking in other geographies, Facebook is starting to impede on local social networking sites turf. Namely in China, QQ is very popular and in Russia, sites such as Odnoklassniki and V Kontakte get a lot of usage. Orkut is very popular in Brazil, but evidence is showing that Facebook continues to slowly eat away at these sites' market share.

MySpace is losing turf in almost every geography and it appears LinkedIn is showing steady growth. The message here is to not to assume Facebook and Twitter are dominant worldwide. If you are marketing or communicating a message to a specific geography or population, embrace the local networks too.