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

  •  Half of Americans Use Social Media
  •  Beyonce Causes New Twitter Record
  •  Flickr Enhances Location Security With Geofences
  •  Beyonce Causes New Twitter Record


Half of Americans Use Social Media

What do you think the penetration rate of social media is in the United States? Pew Internet research sought to find out and the results are surprising. In a recent phone survey, the firm postulates that half of all of U.S adults are active on at least one social media channel. However, this audience isn't all that thrilled to be on social media.

In a question posed to respondents, "What is one word that describes your experience with social media", the most common answer was "good". Other popular answers included interesting, fun, convenient and frustrating. While the popularization of social media channels can make one think that everyone is using the likes of Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter with enthusiasm, most users seem to be just OK with their experiences with these services.

How do you feel about social media? It seems in my tweet streams and Facebook streams, people love the connections they make on the tool, but not the tools themselves.  

Beyonce Causes New Twitter Record

There's a statistic that Twitter tracks called Tweets Per Second (TPS) that is a raw measure of activity on the service at any given time. Typically, TPS records are set when a significant news event takes place such as a natural disaster or sporting championship. However, at the Video Music Awards, pop star Beyonce set a record with the announcement that she's pregnant.

During the height of the TPS records setting event, 8,868 Tweets per second were distributed during the MTV show. Also, as a result, MTV saw its largest viewership and had its highest referral of visits from Twitter in what they are calling "the most social VMA day ever", according to MTV.

It's surprising that a pregnancy announcement from an entertainer set this record, as previous record setting events include Bin Laden's death, Super Bowl 2011 and during the royal wedding in England. Were you caught up in the feverish tweeting surrounding Beyonce's pregnancy announcement?

Flickr Enhances Location Security With Geofences

With phones equipped with GPS, many photos are now geotagged, meaning that the exact location of where the photo is taken is embedded into the photo file itself. Flickr can show the photos on a map and with the addition of a new privacy setting, Flickr users now have more control over who can see where your photos were snapped.

The new feature, called Geofences, allows users to draw a circle on a map to designate a geofence and then choose privacy setting for that specific area. Users have the ability to create up to 10 geofences and previously uploaded photos are updated with the new geo-privacy settings. Why would you want to do this? Perhaps drawing a zone around your house and only allowing friends and family to see photos you geotag in that area.

The update gives users more control on how photos are displayed to the general public. Flickr claims to have 300 million geotagged photos and videos and the new functionality should be a welcome new feature for users of geotagged items.

Facebook Changes Photos Experience

Likely the most used application on Facebook, Photos has been updated to enhance usability and quicken the user experience. With enhancements to the size and loading time, Photos now appear larger and can be viewed more quickly.

With the update, Facebook photos are now displayed at 720 x 960 pixels and load twice as fast. Photos already uploaded into Facebook will be automatically displayed at the higher resolution. The new viewer has been updated with less clutter and a light box around the photos. This update follows one made in February to the Photo view.

Did you notice the new changes to the Photos interface? How are you liking the updates?