Surprise, Facebook Page administrators … The social network has just increased your workload. Hooray!

But hey, at least Timeline is finally live for everyone, right?

Want more social sharing to generate leads? A new study shows what content gets shared the most. Speaking of content, content, content … corporate marketers are shifting their spend to — wait for it — branded content.

But it may not matter, since according to another recent study, social media is ruining our minds. Yikes! What a week it’s been.

Please enjoy the following stories of interest for this week ending December 16, 2011.

1. Facebook Restores Messaging for Page Admins, Sort of

Basically, what this means is that anyone (not just fans) can send a private message to a Page admin, and the Page admin can then respond as the Page (not as a personal user). This feature is not live for all Pages yet. And don’t worry if the message button does make its way to your Page; if you don’t want it, it looks l like you can elect to turn it off.

Bottom Line: This could be great for small businesses with relatively low volume (solving problems, answering questions, keeping potentially negative stuff off of the Page). For large businesses, this could be a huge nightmare, since there are no scaling or assignment capabilities yet.

2. Facebook Timeline Now Available to Everyone

At last, Facebook’s new redesign of user profiles, called Timeline, is here. For all users. The new profile shows a detailed overview of your life, and we think it looks pretty cool. That said, Timeline does have its critics. Major concerns revolve around Facebook requesting even more personal info and the ease with which Facebook makes this information accessible, which could lead to identity theft.

Bottom Line: Timeline is visually stunning and a compelling way to present the content you share on Facebook. If you have concerns over what other users see, we think it’s pretty simple how to handle that: Don’t post things you’re not comfortable with. Facebook also makes it easy to curate the content that’s visible to others on your Timeline.

3. How to Increase Social Sharing to Generate More Leads

The University of Pennsylvania studied the most emailed New York Times articles. What did they find? Content that triggers an emotional response is more likely to be shared. Especially content that ignites a spark in the reader. An article published on goes on to offer some ideas to help you “grease the sharing skids.

Bottom Line: If you want to generate more leads for your business or organization, focus on content that’s useful and empowering to the reader. But don’t forget to make it easy to share as well. We’ll be taking that advice to heart soon here as we update our own blog to allow for easier sharing.

4. Marketers Shifting Spend to Branded Content

A new study finds that U.S. corporate marketers are shifting spending from traditional marketing to branded-content marketing. In 2011, this spending reach an all-time high of $1.9 million on average for the 100 corporate marketers surveyed. The top content marketing goals were to educate and retain customers. At the bottom of the priority list: Up-selling customers. Overall, corporate marketers consider branded content more effective than other forms of advertising and marketing.

Bottom Line: The study seems to reinforce the idea of content marketing as a long-term strategy rather than quick, transactional investments. Focus on using content marketing as a way to build trust over the long-term while educating your customers.

5. How Social Media Is Ruining Our Minds

Over the last 10 years, the average attention span has dropped from 12 minutes to 5 seconds. That’s right 5 seconds. Congratulations, if you’re still reading this. Be sure to check out the other fascinating statistics and facts in this great infographic.

Bottom Line: When it comes to any type of marketing, it’s all about attention. From the looks of this infographic it’s getting harder not only to get it but to keep it. More reason to make sure you’re in tune with the needs of your audience so you can occupy some real estate in the social media user’s mind.

What are your thoughts on this week’s stories? Tell us in the comments below.

Photo: B Rosen