Life of a link depends on content, not on which social network
There's a common misconception that links last a lot longer on Facebook than Twitter, because the newsfeed moves slower than the stream, but research from bit.ly confirmed that this isn't the case: the half life of a link (ie the time it takes to receive half its total clicks from when it's first shared) is on average 2.8 hours on Twitter, and 3.2 hours on Facebook - not a massive difference, although on YouTube links last considerably longer.

What's more interesting is that a link pointing to a topical news story - like an earthquake - is likely to have a lot shorter half-life than a link pointing to something oblique (like lolcats).

Facebook doubles revenue - ready for IPO?
A source from within Facebook revealed last week that the social network had generated $1.6 billion in the first half of 2011, with net income of almost $500 million. Considering it generated $355 million of net income in the first nine months of 2010, this is pretty much a 100% increase year-on-year.

As Tom Cheredar from VentureBeat pointed out, aided by the graph below, the 30% profit margin which is mooted by these figures is more than enough for an IPO:

It looks like 2012 could be an Olympic year for Facebook.

Facebook revamps lists feature, tries to imitate Google+
Facebook is testing a new lists feature, very similar to Circles in Google +. Called Smart Lists, they can be automatically created and updated - as opposed to Facebook's old feature which was completely manual.

Since Smart Lists can be selected within privacy settings and the news feed publisher to determine who can see profile or posted content, they could encourage users to micro-share to specific subsets of their friends. This allows them to post a wider variety of content to Facebook, enriching the site. With Smart Lists, Facebook has leveraged the wealth of data it has about the interconnections between its users to drastically reduce friction in the Friend List creation process, and one-up Google+ Circles that must be laboriously built by hand.

Mashable has a full set of screenshots which illustrates the extent of the changes.

Posting to Facebook without using the right apps reduces engagement
An interesting bit of research from Inside Facebook which found that generally speaking, posting to Facebook from certain third-party apps reduced engagement by 70%.

This is clearly very important - EdgeRank is vital to the success of a Facebook Page, and this research shows that third-party tools clearly effect the newsfeed optimisation of a post. The flip side of this is that Facebook has a secret list of apps which it 'protects' so that engagement isn't reduced which includes Buddy Media, Vitrue, Involver, Context Optional and Syncapse.

Twitter reaches 100 million monthly active users
Twitter announced some new user figures last week: it now has 100 million monthly active users, of which 55% access the service using mobile devices, but only 60 million of those active users actually post. These are impressive figures, increased all the more by the knowledge that 3/4 of users - a further 300 million (I know, I'm a mathematical genius) - visit and use Twitter without being logged in. This hits on how many people use Twitter simply to consume information and it's no bad thing.

Twitter and Bing extend partnership
Twitter and Bing announced last week - via Twitter - that they've extended their partnership which allows Bing to access Twitter's information. If you're a fan of having a little sick in your mouth, then the exchange below is just for you...

Twitter ads to launch in the UK in October
Twitter is said to be finalising the original brand partners for the launch of its suite of advertising solutions in the UK, which are said to be coming in October.

Posterous morphs into a social network
Posterous is shedding its blog origins, to become a fully fledged social network:

Posterous’s 15 million users will log in Monday to find a restructured dashboard, sticking them right into a Reader tab. The tab serves as a feed of all content posted and shared by individuals the user is following. Posterous users have always been able to follow one another, but the Reader view is designed to ease following shared content.

The dashboard also has Popular, Activity and Spaces tabs for access to top public content, real-time activity across the user’s Spaces and Spaces administration, respectively. Posterous for iPhone now replicates the entire new Spaces experience on mobile.

Rather than referring to the new Posterous as Posterous Spaces, we'll be referring to the old Posterous as pre-Posterous.

GetGlue sees 130% growth in check-ins in three months
New figures released by GetGlue (a platform which allows users to check-in to TV shows, as well as other media) indicate that it's growing at an exceptional rate; while it still has a limited userbase, the growth shown by the graph below means it's definitely still one to watch.

Delicious revamp planned
The New York Times carried an interesting interview with Chad Hurley and Steve Chen (the founders of YouTube) about their plans for recent acquisition Delicious. The whole thing is worth a read, but one quote stands out:

The home page would feature browseable “stacks,” or collections of related images, videos and links shared around topical events. The site would also make personalized recommendations for users, based on their sharing habits.

Heinz trials Facebook-based loyalty scheme
Heinz has launched a loyalty campaign for its chilli-flavoured Tomato Ketchup exclusively on Facebook. The campaign centres on offering discount vouchers that double in value once they’ve been shared by friends. Fans have the choice of immediately downloading a 25p discount coupon or sharing it with their friends, which will double its value to 50p.

David Guetta sells his album via Facebook
I haven't heard of him, but apparently David Guetta is selling his new album with Facebook credits, which opens up a whole new avenue for Facebook as a competitor to iTunes. For all I might mock this, Guetta now has the 39th most popular Facebook Page with 23.6 million Facebook fans. So go, er, Guetta yourself one.

Topman enters into the world of Facebook commerce
Topman has launched a storefront on its Facebook Page which allows users to browse through a range of products and add them to a basket. The app is not transactional though, which means that users have to go through to Topman.com to pay, which in turn, renders it pretty useless.

Sharp include hashtag on TV ads
Around the live TV coverage of the England v Wales football game, Sharp used the hashtag #thisiswhy on their TV ads, in a bid to generate conversation. One of the sharper ideas we've seen recently, which is good for online engagement.

M&S targets fashion bloggers
Around the launch of its Limited Collection, Marks & Spencer has engaged key fashion bloggers. The campaign encourages fashion bloggers to wear items from the Limited Collection for a week and create a new look every day. Greater engagement will be encouraged by inviting M&S Facebook fans and the fashion bloggers' readers to vote on their favourite outfits. In terms of coverage for the new collection, it looks like it's been quite a success.

Epic blogger outreach fail from ConAgra
This one deserves a whole post of its own: in short, food bloggers were outreached on the promise of a special meal, and were actually served a re-heated frozen lasagna to try and generate a positive reaction. Instead, cue outrage. It's so bad it's almost like the agency behind it came up with it just to pasta time away.