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

  • Twitter Launches Analytics Product
  • Facebook Unveils Smart Lists
  • Tumblr Goes Big With Massive Traffic Increase
  • Posterous Launches New Version, Guns for Google Plus

Twitter Launches Analytics Product

Sure, there are millions of people on Twitter, and that's great. However, if you're a user of the service as a part of your organization's marketing or outreach plans, how do you track what kind of traffic Twitter sends your way? There are third-party services that can provide this type of analytics service, but Twitter has a new product it wants you to know about.

Twitter Web Analytics sets out to give website owners quantifiable data on the effectiveness of their Twitter integration. Through technology acquired when the company bought BackType, Web Analytics will be a useful tool to Twitter-using organizations. The tool now is free and is in beta. I would expect Twitter to charge a nominal fee once the service goes live officially.

Services such as SproutMedia and others offer analytics currently for Twitter and Facebook for a small monthly fee. What about you and your organization: Would you start using Twitter Web Analytics over these tools or are you happy with your current solution?

Facebook Unveils Smart Lists

When Google Plus debuted in July, one of its key advantages was the ability of the service to more easily enable users to build lists of friends and send messages to groups in an easy and straightforward manner. Facebook countered a few weeks ago with the ability to target messages at groups more easily and this week debuted a new Smart Lists function to create, populate and update lists of family, friends, co-workers and more.

Smart Lists is an effort on Facebook's part to increase adoption of its Friends List feature, which has been around for some time, but unused by users because building lists was a cumbersome process. Facebook users can edit the lists, but Smart Lists seeks to start the process by getting you started with groups pre-populated.

In related news, Facebook will cut down on notification email when events occur such as new comments left or posts on your wall. This may be welcome news, but the notifications serve as hooks to log into the service as an alert of new activity.

Tumblr Goes Big With Massive Traffic Increase

Tumblr has graduated, it seems, from a small blogging service to have numbers that compete with the big boys in the blogging world, namely Blogger and WordPress. In fact, Tumblr has not only passed its main competitor, Posterous, it's now moved on to much bigger fish. In the last year, Tumblr is gaining over 300 million visitors per month, which generate 12 billion page views per month.

To put this into context, ReadWriteWeb compares these numbers to, in which Tumblr gets 8.5 times more page views, according to Quantcast. As we examine numbers and statistics, it should be noted that all these figures point to the fact that online publishing platforms are doing well and continue to attract and maintain visitors.

Comparing WordPress to Tumblr is a bit of an odd comparison, as Tumblr is much more of a quick-read platform; but WordPress might want to look over their shoulder at the competition and see what can be learned by Tumblr's rapid rise in pageviews and traffic.

Posterous Launches New Version, Guns for Google Plus

Posterous is a popular and highly-used self-publishing platform among the social media crowd. The company just announced a service that is a new category called Posterous Spaces. Spaces is a new service that allows you to publish content to selected audiences, much like Google Plus and its Circles functionality. As a result, Posterous has now graduated from simply a content management system into a Google Plus or Facebook competitor.

What sets Posterous Places apart from competing services? The visually attractive platform allows you to choose a specific theme for each friend list or circle. Also, Spaces lets you have a custom URL for each Space, therefore silo-ing each audience, which might appeal to online content creators who want to tailor messages and look/feel to certain groups.

Posterous Places and other services such as Google Plus continue to redefine what a blog is. Where Google Plus requires a Google account, Posterous Places will appeal to those who want to publish online to anyone and have an aesthetic all their own as well.