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

  • Popular Social Networks Experience Outages
  • Majority of Americans Research Online Before Buying
  • The Troubles in Trying to Repeat the "Old Spice Guy" Effect
  • Tumblr Adds New Functionality to Queues

Popular Social Networks Experience Outages

Two social sites, Facebook and Foursquare are feeling growth pains, it seems. Foursquare, the popular location-based social network, spent much of the early part of this week dealing with outages and frustrated users. The social network based on checking-in to a location and sharing facts and tidbits about locations was down for much of Monday and even experienced hiccups into Tuesday.

Ever since Facebook Places launched this summer, Foursquare has seen a spike in new user sign ups, and as any Twitter user knows -- massive growth is hard to handle and blackouts can occur.

Facebook users also found the service to be unavailable recently. This outage comes off an extended outage about two weeks ago.

As the social web starts to go mainstream, these service outages and technical problems will undoubtedly continue. It's a good plan to have a backup when it comes to communicating with your friends and family if you rely heavily upon social networking sites.

Majority of Americans Research Online Before Buying

According to research from the Pew Internet and American life Project, almost 60% of Americans say they perform online research before buying products and services. This is up from 49% of those who said they conducted the same research on products in 2004.

Not only are more folks doing their homework when it comes to buying products, they're also sharing their opinions online. To this end, 24% of American adults say they've posted comments or reviews online about the products and services they buy. More folks are shopping online as well, up from 36% in 2004 to 62% today.

These statistics show that more and more consumers are using the Internet to be smart about the products and services they buy. Not only that, but they are looking to one another for authentic opinions and experiences with these products. It would be interesting to know what sites people utilize to share product research the most; whether it's folks leaving reviews on sites such as Amazon.com or using social networks.

The Troubles in Trying to Repeat the "Old Spice Guy" Effect

Social networking and social marketing make it quite easy to get a marketing campaign up and running. By utilizing a Facebook page or profile and a Twitter account, getting set up to deliver a message is easy and takes little time or capital investment. However, marketers trying to stand out on social networks need to tread carefully, according to a report from Forrester Research.

Because Generation Y users communicate online with hundreds of Facebook and Twitter contacts and countless more on other social channels, marketers face an uphill battle in overcoming all the noise and standing out. GigaOm tracks the research and points out that just 18 percent of those surveyed follow a brand on Facebook and only 6 percent have read a company or brand's blog.

To stand out against the crowd, social marketers are urged to create very interesting content that folks can easily consume. Another helpful tip, meet your audience where they're engaging online. For instance, if the audience you're looking to market to isn't active on Facebook, don't forget about email or other traditional methods for marketing campaigns.

Tumblr Adds New Functionality to Queues

Tumblr is a blogging platform that is a bit different from more popular packages such as WordPress. Tumblr allows for quick, easy-to-read posts that often consist of a picture or short quote. Tumblr users can blog more quickly because of the nature of Tumblr's use and style.

To enable scheduling of future content, Tumblr utilizes a facility called the Queue, which allows you to post content at certain intervals. Up until recently, utilizing a queue has been very difficult, but with a new update, the process has become much easier. Tumblr users can now drag and drop items to schedule them in a user-friendly manner. This change, along with a few other user experience changes have added to an already-strong platform.

Are you a tumblr user? Do you prefer this way of managing a blog or website versus using a more traditional system such as WordPress or Blogger? We can't wait to see your comments below!