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

  • Twitter Search Traffic Is Up Sharply
  • Facebook Starts Suggesting Pages to Users
  • Does Social Networking Benefit You?
  • NBA Stars to Use Twitter to Break News

Twitter Search Traffic Is Up Sharply

There has been a lot of buzz around real-time search. That is, what is being discussed right now on the web? Current trends, events and topics are being talked about on sites such as Facebook, tumblr, Digg and Twitter. In fact, an innovative company called OneRiot specialized in real-time search and intelligence.

According to Venturebeat, search traffic on Twitter's site is up 33 percent. The micro-blogging company reports that it is serving 800 million search queries per day, which as impressive amount. These figures show a growth similar to the success Bing reported in 2009, however Bing was unable to maintain solid traffic and has since dropped off.

As Twitter starts to explore ways to monetize their large user base, search will play a large role. The company first started out as a status notification system, but is now quickly becoming a current news network or intelligence platform. However, Twitter has had many issues with downtime recently, so hopefully they can beef up their infrastructure to support the new usage models that are developing.

Facebook Starts Suggesting Pages to Users

There is no doubt, Facebook is a very 'sticky' service. Once you sign in to the Facebook service, you're sucked in. The site is full of your friends, family and companies you adore, so it's no wonder people spend so much time on the social networking site. Facebook is taking it one step further by suggesting Facebook pages for you to "Like".

Based on your interests and other pages you've subscribed to, Facebook is now suggesting other Pages you may be interested in. For example, I have "liked" the page for Portland, so Facebook has accordingly suggested the Oregon state page as well.

By increasing exposure of Facebook Pages, the company is obliviously trying to increase follower numbers and promote the visibility of this utility. This move will is likely intended to to help brands acquire new eyeballs and to create revenue for Faceook, accordingly.

For a long time, Facebook has suggested friends to users based on common friends or working at the same location, but suggesting Pages is a new piece of functionality.

Does Social Networking Benefit You?

Social media and social networking are buzzwords right now, but when it comes down to it, are these technologies benefiting you, personally? This is what the Pew Center recently tried to find out via a survey. According to the respondents, social media was a benefit to a large majority of internet users.

With privacy concerns and over-use of social networking, Pew set out to see how folks were both utilizing and protecting themselves from social networking. In the survey, 85% of folks agreed with the statement, "In 2020, when I look at the big picture and consider my personal friendships, marriage and other relationships, I see that the internet has mostly been a positive force on my social world. And this will only grow more true in the future."

Also, only 14% of people agreed with this statement, "In 2020, when I look at the big picture and consider my personal friendships, marriage and other relationships, I see that the internet has mostly been a negative force on my social world. And this will only grow more true in the future."

This bodes well for social networking going forward. Amongst the concerns of social networking users is the time it takes to invest in being online and the lack of depth to 'online' relationships.

How about you - do you value social networking in your daily life? Or does the idea of online socializing turn you away? Please sound off in our comments below.

NBA Stars to Use Twitter to Break News

As of July 1st, it is free agent season in the NBA. This year, there is new twist in all the rumor milling and spinning: Twitter. It seems that stars such as Dewyane Wade and LeBron James are stirring up their own news utilizing their Twitter accounts. NBA trades are normally very secret operations, with rumors spilling out form time to time.

However, this year, NBA stars are using their Twitter clients to give out teasers as to where they might play next. So, as basketball stars wait with anticipation, the free agents seem to be having a field day with the new attention they are getting with first person marketing.

Perhaps the biggest free agent news will come from LeBron James, as the Cleveland Cavaliers superstar decides where he will play next. Just yesterday, he joined Twitter and sent out a first tweet, sending the sports world into a dizzy spell. How will these stars continue to utilize these messaging tools? It will be entertaining to watch and see.