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

  • Launches With Innovative News Approach
  • Businesses Aren't Using Social Media Wisely
  • Like Yelp, Businesses Can Now Talk Back To Customer Reviews
  • Who Are The Top Brands On Foursquare? Launches With Innovative News Approach

There's no doubt that the web has changed publishing forever. Newspapers are going out of business and even your local TV news affiliate has changed their approach now that the Internet has become a go-to news source for mainstream audiences worldwide. 

The team behind the popular weblog Politico has launched a new site called TBD has a hired a team of 127 local bloggers, spread throughout the United States and will produce local content to compliment the national stories that appear. Also, TBD will aggregate content from other sources to create a 'one-stop tool' for those seeking news.

By embracing the community, online and off, seeks to be more complete. Local bloggers for TBD will seek relationships out on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and even Foursquare to stay in-the-know about upcoming news.

Businesses Aren't Using Social Media Wisely

It seems every business is now using social media. Between Facebook pages and Twitter accounts, many retailers, restaurants and other businesses are connected to their audiences. Also, one might think that tech companies are best at responding and embracing their customer base via social media.

According to a recent study by Wildfire, a PR/marketing agency looked at the social media presence for UK tech companies. All in all, 74% had an official Twitter account. However less than half (43%) ever responded to a single tweet.  Most companies merely used Twitter as another way to distribute press releases and other one-way marketing activities.

It appears that businesses have realized that communicating on Twitter needs to be a part of a company's plans, but in these examples, firms are doing it wrong. Companies don't seem to realize that Twitter is a conversation tool, whereby speaking and listening (mostly listening) take place. Obviously these firms need to speak, monitor and respond to commenters in an appropriate time frame.

Like Yelp, Businesses Can Now Talk Back To Customer Reviews

Google Places is Google's attempt at giving businesses a way to have an online 'home' where they can be discovered when Google users search for businesses online. For some time, users could leave reviews on Google Place pages, much like the functionality of Now, business owners can respond to reviews on Google Places pages, adding a bit of conversation and making the service more useful.

In order to utilize the response mechanism, business owners must identify themselves as the proper business owners of the Place page. Then, owners can respond to reviews (both good and bad) and show the general public how they've effectively, or ineffectively, taken the feedback. This functionality adds more usefulness to Google Maps, as Google Places is being built into the popular mapping website.

So far, Yelp offers richer reviews because of the large community that has been on the site for years adding constructive reviews and other feedback. Which review system are you more likely to use?

Who Are The Top Brands On Foursquare?

Twitter and Facebook are two companies that have been making news for years in the social media space. The newcomers seem to be location based social networks such as Foursquare and Gowalla. On this new breed of social network, what brands are making the biggest impact? This is what tracking site Fan Page List sought to find out in a recent effort.

According to Fan Page List, Zagat is the biggest brand on Foursquare. This is of no surprise as Zagat is well-known as a go-to guide for great restaurant reviews and would be of use when you check-in to a restaurant. The other popular brands on Foursquare seem to be television properties such as History Channel, MTV and VH1. This History Channel has teamed up with Foursquare to provide historical information on places and locations.

Foursquare has 1.8 million users reported and is adding about 100,000 per day. These usage numbers, combined with the growth of smartphones will likely lead to a growth in the use of location-based social networks and a growing opportunity for brands to utilize them. Expect more brand campaigns in the coming months.