A Facebook fan is worth the sum of their friends
Online analytics firm comScore set out to answer the much-pondered question, what’s a Facebook fan worth? The answer: it depends on how many friends they have.

For example if a brand posts an update, not all of their fans will be online to see it - posting 5 times a week only reaches 16% of fans in the feed, but their likes and comments on posts will appear to many of their friends on the friends' newsfeeds.

The study profiles three major brands- Starbucks, Southwest Airlines, and Microsoft Bing to show the true impact of friends and fans on the impact of updates.

But the crucial takeaway from the report was the importance of regular updates to Pages to reach the most fans; in other words, day-to-day community engagement.

Teens prefer not to engage online
An interesting ethnographic study suggests that brands are failing to engage with a younger generation: while they 'like' brands, they don't return to their pages, emphasising the need for good newsfeed optimisation. The next installment of the study is expected in December.

Google+ adds features and loses traffic
New figures from Experian show the first drop in traffic for Google+ since launch, and in addition, average time spent on the social network dropped 10% to 5 minutes and 15 seconds.

Perhaps to combat this drop, Google last week added the ability to watch Youtube videos together in a hangout. The feature which allows one member to drop a link into the chat to be played to everyone in the Hangout could extend time spent on the website. Future plans to let users watch live video such as football games together could extend usage further.

This week the decision to delete accounts without real names on Google+ caused anger in online communities. Google say that real names are essential to ease finding friends or colleagues and even at preventing spambots.

Calls suggesting social media websites only want real names to improve it for advertisers were refuted by our MD, Robin Grant:

It's not really about being able to sell someone's name but their intent - people's search and social behaviour. It doesn't matter if you know their name or not, it matters that there's a link between what they say they do and what they actually do.

The question is will Google+ change their stance and allow people to conceal their identity in the future.

Twitter introduces advertising into stream
An update to Twitter will change the stream so promoted tweets from organisations you follow will reach the top of your timeline at login. These tweets will then scroll through your timeline just like regular tweets. This appears pretty unobtrusive, so shouldn't cause a backlash.

Foursquare relaunches brand pages
There was interesting news from Foursquare this week with the relaunch of their Pages function, which allows any user to create a brand Page (possibly craftily forcing brands to take over and run the fake Pages, thus increasing uptake by brands).

Groupon deals on Foursquare
Foursquare and Groupon have teamed up to bring some of the best deals directly to users. Groupon will offer instant Groupon Now deals which allow for spontaneous redemption of deals directly from the mobile platform.

Preparing MySpace for a remodel
Once worth an estimated $65 Billion, MySpace was recently bought for $35 million and the new owners are wasting no time in their goal of making MySpace cool again:

MySpace will be a place to interact with celebrities and artists and to view content produced exclusively for MySpace. 

The ambition is worthy and with 35 million unique users each month the company still has some decent online real estate to play with. A solid vision may be just what is needed to reinvigorate the dinosaur that is MySpace.

Facebook expands in London
Facebook announced this week that its expanding its UK operation, moving to new offices in Covent Garden and hiring more staff.

The BlackBerry Facebook app gets an update.
Many people have complained about the lack of functionality of the Facebook App on the BlackBerry. This week version 2 of the Facebook app was released providing many welcome updates. The most significant release since its conception includes a brand new user interface, chat, and improved news feed amongst other tweaks such as core integration to the BlackBerry OS.

The Facebook phone
Vodafone have joined others in releasing their own Facebook phone. The Vodafone Blue 555 prompts users to log into their Facebook account as soon as it is turned on and even has a dedicated Facebook key. With a low cost the handset is likely to become a hit in emerging markets such as India.

NFC Tags facilitate auto-networking to Facebook and Twitter
To support their range of NFC-enabled phones, Nokia have begun selling NFC tags which have a wide range of features: “In addition to Foursquare check-ins, they support Twitter follows, Facebook likes, Custom URLs and more”. The poster built tags are likely to start appearing in shops around the country after a trial at the Google I/O conference presented users with a special badge.

Currently NFC is only available on specific Nokia phones but now the ball is rolling we fully expect more models utilising the tags in the future.

Hotels connect guests with Facebook using RFID
RFID tags are already used in hotels as keys but the future may be with auto check-ins and photo tagging. The Great Wolf Lodge waterpark-cum-hotel allows guests to register wristbands to their Facebook account and use the webcam equipped “Paw Posts” to link images straight to their wall.

Utilising a similar system the Ushuaia beach hotel in Ibiza encourages guests to use their bands to check-in to locations, in order to make their friends jealous. In addition to the users page, all of the information updates automatically onto the hotel’s Facebook page creating a fast moving online community.

Channel 4 partners with GetGlue
Channel 4 are teaming up with GetGlue to offer stickers and other rewards for watching and getting involved with their favourite shows. Exclusive and one-of-a-kind stickers will be given to users which simply check-in to the show. E4 viewers will be able to use the stickers to level up and unlock fan and superfan statuses as well as using them to enter competitions.

Domino's display reviews in Times Square
Continuing their theme of making the company actions as transparent as possible, a new billboard in Times Square shows the good, bad and ugly customer reviews they receive from the Domino's Tracker service. It's unknown how they'll display the reviews - perhaps in a pie chart with various slices.

The Tweetdown to London 2012 has begun
With the Olympics less than a year away, the race to become the most supportive country has begun. Tweets including the #1yeartogo hashtag are included, with the top five being displayed in a virtual stadium on the London 2012 website. The campaign has received over 85,000 tweets thus far, but will be hoping to reach Olympic levels.

Bulmers' new campaign
Bulmers launched a new summer-long campaign on their Facebook Page this week, which sets fans a series of tests through a Facebook app. They're also trying to create the world's largest virtual bench: perhaps they'll put in a pretty woman and hope men will want to sit beside 'er. (Geddit?)

Nostalgic hairstyles on Facebook
Vauxhall's new Retro Restyle app on their Facebook page allows you to put on the fabulous hair of football heroes from the past. Hairstyles from stars from the past such as Kevin Keegan and Rudi Voller are on offer to give that nostalgic feeling.

Brands use Instagram to drive engagement
With the recent stream of celebs such as Justin Bieber joining Instagram, brands such as ASOS and Timberland are following the old school photo trend.

Chinese bloggers oust government censorship
After the high-speed train crash in China last week, users of Sina Weibo called for transparency in the reporting of the incident. Users blogged about the crash suggesting the official reports were misleading and even forced the government to alter their stance on certain issues such as compensation, which will have an effect further down the line.

Once again, this is a clear example of how influential microblogs have become, especially in countries where the control of information is so important.

New online petition site to boost political engagement
The UK government has launched a new petition site, which promises that any campaign with over 100,000 signatures will be debated in Parliament. The proposed system should guarantee important petitions get the Parliament time they deserve - but with plenty of bored office workers out there, there could also be some absolute nonsense up for debate.

Twitter influenced the dept ceiling deal
On Friday U.S. President Obama asked his followers to tweet at their congressmen to get them to come to an agreement on the dept ceiling. While it came across a little spammy, it did the trick - with a White House aide suggesting it was the tweets which helped bring about a compromise.

White House 'Rickrolls' Twitter
Following on from Twitter influencing the outcome of the dept ceiling being raised, the White House tried to lighten the news by linking their 2.3 million Twitter followers to “something more fun”. A sign that the U.S government will never, ahem, give its countrymen up, let them down, run around or desert them.