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

  • China Blocks Social Media Sites Ahead of Tienanmen Anniversary
  • How Much Longer Can Social Silos Last?
  • Debating Whether Social Media Drives Sales
  • Havard Study Finds Twitter Behavior Split Between Men and Women
  • US Navy Opens Up to Social Media Types

China Blocks Social Media Sites Ahead of Tienanmen Anniversary

Just as the 20th anniversary of the Tienanmen Square massacre approaches, it appears that China has blocked several websites to visitors within the communist country.

According to reports, sites such as Microsoft's Bing.com (Redmond's new search engine), Live.com, Hotmail.com and social networking sites such as Flickr and Twitter are unreachable inside China.

Why would China block these sites? Perhaps to stop any kind of social organization or citizen journalism of the events taking place to observe the massacre's anniversary.

Social media and messaging tools such as Twitter have been used in other countries to organize protests and alert groups to news and events surrounding social causes, government events and other gatherings.

China is constantly running highly sophisticated web content filtering operations, but the timing of banning Twitter and similar social sites seems notable in this case.

How Much Longer Can Social Silos Last?

While social networking sites are all the rage right now, how much longer can the popularity of such sites last? We have Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and numerous other social websites that will all likely start to diminish in usage and popularity.

In a recent Wired article, David Chartier examined this question with great thought and detail. As he points out, each site right now is a silo, where the information you put into Twitter exists only there and is not connected to the rest of your online life. This doesn't sound like a very "social" approach to information sharing.

After the excitement and enthusiasm surrounding Oprah's grand entrance to the Twitterverse wanes, will you continue to Tweet? At CMSWire, we've examined the high turnover of Twitter users -- and eventually this high turnover will spread to other social websites as well.

Debating Whether Social Media Drives Sales

Many proponents of social media advocate the medium as a better platform for driving sales to highly interested customers. The theory goes like this: technologically attached netizens will advocate your product or service for you and help increase sales through organic growth. However, new research shows that this isn't always the case.

Knowledge networks has come out with numbers that people are seeking one another online, not specifically brands and products to buy. However, we see issues with the research and implications of the data. Advertisers who think they can just throw an ad on Facebook and expect exponential growth don't "get" social media and those who participate in it.

Here's some free advice for advertisers and brand managers:

Think of Facebook as someone's living room. You wouldn't just knock on someone's front door and get in their face with your message or advertisement. That's old school sales. Most likely, if you want someone to become an advocate for your brand or service, you'd get to know them first and gain their trust, then show them the benefits of your wares.

Social networks and advertising on them is about relationships, not making a quick buck.

Harvard Study Finds Twitter Behavior Split Between Men and Women

A recent study completed by Harvard Business Review looked at more than 300,000 tweeps (Twitter-ease for a Twitter user) and their behavior during May 2009. Some unexpected results popped out.

Here are the highlights:

  • Men and women follow a similar number of Twitter users
  • Men have 15% more followers than women
  • Men have more reciprocated relationships (when two users follow each other)
  • Women out number men on Twitter 55% to 45%
  • An average man is almost 2x more likely to follow another man than a woman
  • An average woman is 25% more likely to follow a man than a woman

There is a lot of other interesting data analyzed and the general point is established that in many ways Twitter is unlike other social networks both in composition and behaviors. If you're a social media hound, we recommend a full read.

US Navy Opens Up to Social Media Types

The US Navy recently welcomed some bloggers, podcasters and other social media participants aboard the US Nimitz to give them a feel for what a day in the Navy is like. Guy Kawasaki recently blogged his experience and chronicled the ship, its inner-workings and the sacrifice our Navy personnel experience while serving our country.

It's great to see a branch of the military participate with and engage social media as a way to show citizens what it's like to be a Navy sailor, day in and day out. But what we'd really like to see is people making more digital love, not putting a fancy new face on war.