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New York Times Looks at Twitter

The NYT looks at the growth of Twitter and comes to the same conclusion as many of us. Twitter is neat, intriguing, but does it have a place in business or your friends circle.

I’ve been using Twitter for a week or so now, and I certainly find it hit and miss. While I enjoy the personal Tweets of some friends, others I’d just prefer to hear about their business activities. Maybe Twitter needs some kind of tag that describes the tweet as either personal or business – that way you could filter them out.

Honeymoon Over For Social Networks? Back to School, Then

MediaPost reports on an In-Stat report that says the honeymoon is over for social networks. It’s time to root, hog, or die: “They need to start generating revenue now or bow out of the race, according to a new report from In-Stat. ‘In order for a social networking site to be successful, it must attain a critical mass, and competition is fierce to attract new members,’ said In-Stat analyst Jill Meyers.”

She encouraged social networks to get down to business by using the demographic information they’ve already collected to attract advertisers looking for a particular target:

“Each social networking site collects a plethora of personal and demographic data on each member,” said Meyers, “and while selling these data to target marketing groups may be unappealing to site members, it may be the best route to profitability for site operators.”

StumbleUpon Launches StumbleThru for Social Media Discovery

StumbleThru Popular web site discover service, StumbleUpon, is not letting acquisition talk distract it from launching new features for its users. Today’s launch of StumbleThru will allow users to explore personalized recommendations from sites such as Flickr, Wikipedia, MySpace and YouTube.

“The collaborative nature of Web 2.0 sites like YouTube and Wikipedia means that content is constantly being generated by millions of users,” said David Feller, Vice President, Marketing in a statement. “StumbleThru provides users the ability to skip the clutter and unearth only the best that these domains have to offer.”

Users can access StumbleThru via their toolbar, a StumbleUpon review page or a new dedicated StumbleThru page.

I spoke to the StumbleUpon team earlier this week and they revealed plans to introduce a Stumble widget for your own web site, just as soon as they build up enough content – so get Stumbling!

Is eBay Acquiring StumbleUpon?

UPDATE: eBay CEO, Meg Whitman was on CNBC this morning to discuss company earnings. She claimed they are “opportunistic with acquisitions, but have nothing on the docket right now.”

Both TechCrunch and GigaOm are reporting on rumors that popular toolbar social network StumbleUpon has signed a deal to be acquired by eBay. They’re suggesting a $45-50 million price tag and even suggesting AOL and Google had been in the running too.

It’s not the first time we’ve heard these rumors, but this time there are appears to be more detail – thought that doesn’t necessarily mean their more credible.

I’m not even going to call StumbleUpon for comment. I spoke with them earlier this week, and they didn’t mention it, so I doubt they’d comment now.

MySpace News Launching Today

Sometime this morning MySpace will lift the lid on their new MySpace News feature. MySpace News will scour thousands of news sources via RSS and group them in hundreds of categories. MySpace readers will then vote on which stories are the most popular.

According to the LA Times

The stories will consist of a headline, one paragraph and a link to the full piece on the news site or blog where it originated. Sources will be selected on criteria including the number of links to them and how often the material is updated.

MySpace parent, News Corp., hopes the more structured content will help it attract more advertisers to MySpace, who thus far, have been put off from advertising next to the random ramblings of teenagers.

Social Networks’ Real Influence

Last month, JupiterResearch reported that 48% of Internet marketers would venture into social media marketing this year. This month they were involved in the research behind iProspect‘s Social Networking User Behavior Study (press release). The result? Some pretty good stuff.

  • 1 in 3 Internet users state that social networks have influenced their purchase decisions.
  • 1 in 4 Internet users visit the most popular social networking sites at least once a month.
  • About 20% of visitors to social networking sites don’t search once they’ve reached the site.
  • Search engines still reach a broader audience than social networking sites, thus SEM is still a very important aspect of Internet marketing. (Of course iProspect found that!)
  • The social networking sites featured in the study included:
    • MySpace
    • Facebook

The Social “News” Race

Li Evans at Search Marketing Gurus caught Digg on the slow side today. She was looking for updates on the shooting at Virginia Tech—but the story was nowhere to be found on Digg’s front page. (It didn’t “become popular” for another two hours after she checked.)

And who did have it when Li checked? Newsvine. Hm!

Aside from the interesting dig at Digg, which Diggers seem to consider the fastest way of transmitting news since the neighborhood grapevine, the irony of the situation struck me as it never has before. These and other “social news” sites aren’t making the news, or controlling it, or even covering it. They’re just voting and commenting on it.