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

  • Web Service StumbleUpon Hits 12 Million Users
  • Flickr Embraces Google Logins
  • Study: Social Networking Isn't Killing In Person Social Lives
  • When Are Facebook Users Actively Engaged?

Web Service StumbleUpon Hits 12 Million Users

Launched in 2001, StumbleUpon is a very useful website discovery service. Although the company has had its ups and downs, including a buyout from eBay, only to be turned on it's own back in 2009, since going independent the company has built upon the service, adding enhancements and upgrades along the way. The enhancements have paid off as CEO Garrett Camp recently made it known that StumbleUpon has gained its 12 millionth user.

Some of you may be asking, what is StumbleUpon used for and why is it useful? It is a people-driven service that allows you to rate website and webpages. Eventually, the recommendation engine learns your tastes and starts to suggest pages and web sites that may interest you. The service is easy to use and helps you discover great sites based on your tastes and browsing behavior.

StumbleUpon is reportedly adding 500,000 users per month. With Digg going through turbulence at this time, sites such as StumbleUpon have an opportunity to show their utility and gain additional users.

Flickr Embraces Google Logins

One issue that various web companies are trying to solve is the constant finding and entering of usernames and logins. For many users, having to remember your username/password combination for each and every site you visit across the web can be difficult. Technologies such as OpenID have tried to tackle the annoying problem with little to no success thus far. In an effort to make logging in easier for users, Flickr is now offering the ability to sign into your Flickr account with your Google credentials.

Now when you sign into Flickr, you can instead enter the same username and password you login to your Gmail account with. Right now this ability is only open to new Flickr users, but the photo sharing service will allow existing Flickr members to associate their Google account soon. Other providers (such as MSN, Twitter, and Facebook potentially) will be rolled out in the near future as well.

Are multiple logins across the web an issue for you? It seems there is an "Identity battle" occurring online where multiple companies want to be your master login for the entire web. Do you desire to utilize your Google login or Facebook login in multiple places on the Internet? Please sound off in the comments below.

Study: Social Networking Isn't Killing In Person Social Lives

A constant argument used by naysayers of social networks is that constant online communication will neuter or weaken real-world relationships with friends, family and colleagues. The thinking goes that if you're heavily active on Facebook, Twitter or similar services, your off-line social life will suffer as a result. However, e-mail marketing company ExactTarget has conducted a study that sheds some light on this viewpoint.

In a study of more than 1,500 US citizens aged 15 and older, in-person relationships are enhanced by the increased communication conducted as a result of utilizing social networks. In fact, 27% of respondents say they see their friends more often amongst those who use Facebook regularly. Amongst Twitter users, 46% of people say they're meeting up with friends more often.

In my informal usage observations, I find that in-person gatherings amongst those who regularly utilize social networking are enhanced by the online conversation. Because each person knows a bit more about the day-to-day happenings, in-person conversations and experiences go deeper. In addition, meet ups and events are easier to plan and carry out when using available online tools.

When Are Facebook Users Actively Engaged?

Some Facebook users seem to be active on the social networking service throughout the day. With constant pictures, status updates and commenting, certain Facebook users are almost too engaged in their Facebook friends' lives, so it seems. However, as an aggregate, at which time of day are Facebook users utilizing the service? Vitrue, a social media management company set out to discover this interesting measure of Facebook involvement.

The study analyzed Facebook data in the months between August and October of 2010 and looked into 1,500 brand streams to see when Facebook users submitted posts into Facebook. In terms of time, the largest usage spikes in the Facebook ecosystem occur at 11:00 am, 3:00 pm and 8:00 pm Eastern US time, with the largest spike occurring at 3:00 pm. In terms of user engagement, the most effective time to post to Facebook is in the morning (probably because it gives other Facebook users time to respond).

In essence, a large amount of activity on Facebook occurs outside the 9 to 5 work day. Most users seem to engage with the social networking site in the mornings and evenings.  In the perspective of online marketers and other social media managers usage data should be important because it sheds light on how and when most Facebook users are engaged and active on the service, a benefit to any marketing strategist.