The biggest source of social media traffic [to Al Jazeera]? Twitter (followed by @reddit)

And what was the biggest source of social media traffic [to Al Jazeera]? It wasn’t Facebook. It was Twitter (followed by Reddit). When it comes to spreading realtime news, the social revolution is very real and Twitter is in the vanguard.

Wow. Thanks to raldi for bringing this to my attention. What a year 2011 has already been for Al Jazeera. And I think this is only the beginning. Keep making look great, guys!

What I especially enjoy about this TechCrunch article is that its writer, Erick Schonfeld, once gushed over reddit's competition in a snarky article he wrote about our open-source announcement, "reddit Tries To Compete the Open-source Way."

Lesson to all of you startup founders: Brush that dirt off your shoulder and just keep persevering.

From the U.S. Embassy in Roma to the world

I can't thank my hosts enough. Grazie mille!

The U.S. Embassy organized all the logistics for me being here at Social Media Week, including even a meeting with our ambassador to Italy, a fellow startup champion. I participated in a live video Q&A session that included logins from seven different countries, including Italy, the United States, India, Cote D’Ivoire, Peru, Macedonia, and Austria (see below).

My panel this morning was a lot of fun; there's no shortage of excited Italian entrepreneurs and apparently this country has the highest per capita penetration for smartphones -- a fertile environment indeed.

I was invited to interview on Sky Italia (clip to come) and already consumed an inappropriate amount of pizza & gelato (not during the interview, though).

But possibly my favorite part of the last few days may have been listening to people try and translate "breadpig" into Italian. It's awesome. Though to be fair, just pronouncing "hipmunk" is no small feat, either.

I can't wait to return to your fabulous, boot-shaped country.

Our first @breadpig publication, xkcd: volume 0, has been spotted in San Francisco!

I received this lovely image from a friend who snapped a picture of the window display at my beloved Borderlands Books in San Francisco.

True story: this bookstore was the first in the universe to carry xkcd: volume 0. They emailed me shortly after the New York Times article about breadpig & xkcd to say they wanted to carry our then-unreleased title.

We can't thank them enough for believing in a scrappy publisher that had never published anything in the land of deadtrees.

A Staggering Look at Baggage Fees [Infographic!] via @theHipmunk

Has anyone else noticed rising baggage fees over the last few years? We at hipmunk thought we'd take a closer look at this growing nuisance and turned to the fabulous Shaun Sanders, who produced a quite popular wallpaper remixing our mascot into an Internet-famous shark hunting kayaker photo.

We're hoping for this to be the first of many hipmunk infographics, so be sure to sign up for our mailing list (below) and subscribe to this blog so you don't miss a single one of them!

Tip of the hat to our own resident Chief Scientist, Dr. Chris Slowe, superfan of Edward Tufte, for helping us get it just right. 

Steal this image. And if you're so inclined, the super high-rez version makes for a great poster. We also got some great feedback from Sheel Mohnot in the comments, who had a suggestion for a fabulous sequel that highlights baggage fees as a percentage of overall revenue.

Delusions Aside, the Net's Potential Is Real (via @theAtlantic) and Why Even LOLcats > TV

Communities have been eroded, not by the Internet, but by television which locks us into passive, isolated cubicles and bombards us with content, most of which is explicitly designed to encourage consumerism, passivity and superficiality; by suburbanization that isolates families from each other, from work, and from the world; and by the increasingly stressful and long work hours which leave very little time for anything else.

In this regard, the Internet is the greatest antidote to anti-communitarian forces. Frankly, I find even the most mindless lolcat sites on the Internet to be an improvement over canned-laughter-filled sitcoms. The point of lolcats is not the lolcats themselves, but to share them with friends, comment on them, make more of them, and enter the community via the joke. It's the community, not the cat, that matters. (If you doubt this, try selling a book of lolcats and see how well it does.) I write this review in the aftermath of an atrocity; the assassination attempt in Arizona on a Congresswoman that claimed the lives of six others including a child. Every Internet community I am part of is roiled and there is widespread discussion on most of them about the event. Fifteen years ago, we'd all be watching TV, not communicating with each other.

Tip of the hat to CameronCRussell for the link tho this great book review. I'm gonna pick up (and by that I mean download) a copy.