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

  • Twitter is Bigger Than MySpace in Britain
  • Trying To Get Around Paying Taxes, Don't Boast on Social Media Sites
  • More Figures on Facebook's Worldwide Popularity
  • Boomers Feel Left Behind By Social Networks
  • Social Networking Driving Large Portion of Online Ads


Twitter is Bigger Than MySpace in Britain

Hitwise has released data that shows that one of the pioneers -- and former giant -- in the social networking space is about to be eclipsed by Twitter in the UK. That's right -- according to web site traffic figures, Twitter is now a more visited web service in Britain.

As Twitter grows at a steady pace, it's alarming to see the mass exodus from MySpace in recent years. We've discussed this on the Social Media Minute before, hoping that MySpace can somehow pull out some stops and become relevant again, for the sake of their user base.

However, at this point, it appears MySpace's good days are far behind it and the new upstarts in social networking will continue to leave MySpace in the dust.

Trying To Get Around Paying Taxes, Don't Boast on Social Media Sites

According to tax and revenue authorities in states such as Minnesota, Nebraska and California, officials are using social media tools to track down tax dodgers. By sifting through Facebook posts, Twitter status updates and other social media sites, the tax officials can see when you've talked about a raise, new position or announced that you're relocating to a new state or city.

This data is then harvested and collected to track your movements to keep you honest on your taxes. What is the tax officials' favorite site for spying your life changes? The answer is MySpace, because its default permissions settings leave your updates open to the public and not just your friends.

While some states are actively tracking using this new method, others are looking into it. So, the message is here -- be careful what you brag about online!

More Figures on Facebook's Worldwide Popularity

BuzzPoint, a firm specializing in social media marketing, has helped put Facebook's massive 250 million user number into perspective. For example, if Facebook were a country, it would be the 4th most populous nation on the planet, just in between the United States and Indonesia.

Looking at usage inside the countries that make up Facebook's userbase, the top contributors are the United States, United Kingdom and Turkey. Interestingly enough, countries such as Iceland and Norway have 40% of their population on Facebook, with Canada being the amongst the larger countries with roughly 34% of its population actively using Facebook.

These interesting statistics show how Facebook has reached a massive audience online. We may think in the US that Facebook is huge, but compared to other regions of the world, our adoption is typical.

Boomers Feel Left Behind By Social Networks

Boomers apparently feel left out by social networking sites and general content on the Internet. When asked in a recent study, only 14% of members of the baby boomer generation said they feel that Internet content is aimed at their age group. As an additional statistic, baby boomer adoption of social networking is at around 45-50% , whereas in the age groups under 35, adoption is in the 70-80% range.

What is it about social networking that turns baby boomers off? Perhaps it's the advertisements that are aimed at the coveted 18-34 demographic. In fact, there is a group on Facebook dedicated to not giving the social networking site your birthday, to avoid their age-targeted ads. 

Even though the numbers show social networking isn't popular amongst the baby boomer crowd, we're seeing these patterns change. As grandparents and other family members wish to keep track of their family members, they're embracing tools such as Facebook to follow and take part in day-to-day lives. Social networking is becoming a part of online 'life', much like email did in the 1900's.

Social Networking Driving Large Portion of Online Ads

Roughly 1 in 5 Internet ads are being displayed on social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook in the United States. These new figures show the reach and power of social networking as an advertising medium for brands and organizations trying to get the word out about their products and services.

According to ComScore, social media sites are displaying 21.1 percent of all US display ads in July 2009. The numbers show how advertisers have turned to social networking sites, but the question remains -- will these ad dollars translate into increased sales. 

Considering social networking sites have rich user profiles enabling targeted ads, the answer is a likely yes.

Have you clicked on or seen interesting ads on your favorite social networking site?  Do you feel more likely to 'like' the ads you see?  Please weigh in below in the comment section.