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

  • ICQ Launches New Client With Real time Features
  • Study: Social Networks Not Keeping Students Up At Night
  • Majority Of Internet Users Use Social Media
  • Internet Explorer Declared Unsafe By Germany, France

ICQ Launches New Client With Real time Features

For those who have been around the block on the Internet, your instant messenger experience may have started with ICQ. This pioneer was amongst the first popular IM client as it was first made available in late 1996. It turns out that this old dog can learn new tricks as version 7 was released recently, launching the company into a new era.

Now with ICQ7, the instant messaging client brings in functionality that enables you to monitor new social services such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and even Flickr. These new functions are nothing new and are found in similar aggregators such as Seesmic Desktop and Tweetdeck.

However what the competing utilities don't have is instant messaging capability, which is unique with ICQ7 and its approach. Last year, ICQ's parent company AOL revamped AIM with social features in a similar fashion.

ICQ was also given a few user interface tweaks and design changes. Currently, the new client only runs on Windows, but other platforms will have ICQ soon. The service currently has around 42 million worldwide users.

Study: Social Networks Not Keeping Students Up At Night

Last year, a study showed Facebook use led to lower grades amongst college students. The jury is still out on whether Facebook usage alone is the main reason or other factors are at play. However, looking at the story from a different angle, the University of New Hampshire queried students to see whether Facebook, Twitter and other social networks keep them up at night.

The study concluded that no, users of social networks in college are not suffering from sleep deprivation or over-tiredness. To find out, the University asked 1,247 students and found that those who use social networks for 61 minutes per day are equally as likely as those who use networks for 31 or fewer minutes per day to sleep seven or fewer hours per night.

Another interesting figure, a whopping 97% of college students asked use Facebook on a regular basis!

The UNH study shows that there are many other factors that lead college students to be distracted. Social networking is one distraction, amongst social events, sporting events and the many others that University students encounter. To blame a single technology on distraction is a bit one-sided.

Majority Of Internet Users Use Social Media

New numbers from Forrester are showing that user habits amongst Internet users are changing. More and more, folks are posting updates on social networks, uploading videos, leaving comments on blogs and responding to comment threads and online forums.

There are some interesting numbers when you dig into the numbers. The report classified "conversationalists" as those who post updates and messages on sites such as Twitter and Facebook. This group is 56% female and 70% over the age of thirty. This means the 'typical' Facebook users is likely a mature female -- blasting the stereotype that reflected this as a high school or college student.

It is interesting to see that the number of online users who blog and use social sites such as Reddit pretty much stayed the same, but the conversationalist group grew significantly. About 17% of survey respondents classified themselves as "inactives" -- those who don't participate in any social networking activities at all.

These types of usage figures point to a social web that is evolving to become ingrained into people's lives and give advertisers extra motivation to target online social networking users.

Internet Explorer Declared Unsafe By Germany, France

Microsoft's iconic web browser, Internet Explorer has garnered some unwanted attention lately. First, over the weekend, the German government warned Germany's citizens to not run Internet Explorer on their computers. Shortly following this move France made a similar decree: advising against running Internet Explorer versions 6, 7 and 8, as they all carried the same vulnerability that concerned France.

ReadWriteWeb recently looked into the issue further and found out some interesting bits of information. According a security professional at Secuna, a firm that examines security vulnerabilities, the problem isn't Internet Explorer alone. In the RWW article, Thomas Kristensen stated that underlying problems also exist with add-on products from Sun, Adobe and Apple. These third-party programs are enabling some vulnerabilities to be exploited by hackers.

Our advice would be to keep all your software up to date, including your browser (whether it's Internet Explorer, Chrome, Safari or Firefox), Adobe Flash, Adobe Acrobat, Sun's Java technology and any other add-ons you run on your computer. Taking the time to update your software will help protect you against today's known attacks and the ones that are lurking, but have yet to be discovered.