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

  • When Location-Based Services Go Wrong
  • Twitter's Affect On News and Media Sites
  • Facebook Surpasses Google in U.S. Traffic
  • A Siteless Web?

When Location-Based Services Go Wrong

At South By Southwest, location-based social networks were all the rage this year. Folks were checking in and earning badges left and right as they bounced from party to party. However, for one SXSW attendee, the fun came to an abrupt halt as Foursquare granted him a badge he was not proud of nor wanted any attachment.

In Austin, many events and parties happen in hotel lobbies. In one case, Jason Grigsby was granted a "Hookup" badge after checking into two hotels in the same day to meet friends during SXSW. As Jason states, he is a happily married man and this 'hookup' badge sends the wrong message. Carried further, with the "Hookup" badge, Foursquare is assigning distasteful and repulsive shadow on an otherwise fun location based game.

Foursquare is always thinking up new badges to add a new twist and angle to their web service, but the company should think about the ramifications of such a reward/incentive. There are many outsiders who don't like the creepiness and unintended consequences that come from broadcasting your location, and this situation illustrates this fear perfectly.

Twitter's Affect On News and Media Sites

As noted before on the Social Media Minute, Twitter has seen very positive growth over the last few months. In fact, the micro-messaging platform has nearly tripled its U.S. traffic year over year.

Regular Twitter users know that the website is a goldmine to share links with your friends and colleagues. Most Twitter users choose to follow certain users based on the type of information and resources they share on the site. With this in mind, news and media websites should see a sharp increase in upstream traffic, right?

Hitwise recently released figures that show that news and media websites have not seen any significant increase in traffic. Whereas this category saw an increase of 54% in the past year, all categories saw traffic sourced from Twitter increase by about 138%. Why is this? Likely because folks on Twitter like to share leisure-based items such as photos, videos and other fun links with their online contacts.

What type of information do you share on Twitter?

Facebook Surpasses Google in U.S. Traffic

Just a few weeks after passing Yahoo in terms of most visits in website traffic, Facebook turned on the gas and overcame Google to become the most visited site in the United States. For last week, according to Hitwise,'s traffic increased 185% year over year, while Google's traffic in the same week increased just 9%.

When combined, Google and Facebook account for roughly 15% of all Internet traffic in the United States.

Apparently, Facebook has become a very sticky site that draws it's mass of 400+ million users to log in on a regular basis. Google has always been thought of as the most fertile advertising medium online, but with Facebook's might, this theory should be reconsidered.

A Siteless Web?

Steve Rubel, in a recent post, points to the fact that the AP page recently broke news on their Facebook fan page, and not on their own website, as a visionary move. Rubel goes on to suggest that the web, going forward, will place less emphasis on home web sites and more on social networking sites and similar information hubs.

Web habits are changing, as seen in advertising as well. On recent ads from Honda and Pepsi, the links no longer read, and now are seen as Notice the difference? Pepsi and other big brands are pointing to Facebook sites, rather than their own Internet domains.

I can see why: if a Facebook user visits your page, you have more demographic information and can easily track how a user interacts with your web presence in a more insightful way.

However, we see a problem here.  What happens is Facebook is no longer the 'in' website anymore. MySpace was once hot, and now Facebook is king of the hill with regards to social networking.  Brands need to be present on social channels, but their own domains should remain at the center of social outreach.