Just how much power and influence social networking sites have was shown recently when one well known high street clothes retailer tried to redesign its logo, and was met with such a huge barrage of unrest that they had to do a U-turn and abandon the new branding.

The company was forced to scrap an expensive new logo days after its launch following an online backlash from consumers. Thousands of critical comments greeted the new version of the logo when it was recently launched on the company's website. The change prompted a public protest, with more than 2,000 comments on Facebook criticising the decision to ditch the previous well-loved logo. A Twitter account set up in protest collected nearly 5,000 followers and a "Make You Own Logo" went viral on the internet, prompting nearly 14,000 parody versions.

Admitting that they had not gone about this in the right way, the retailer said that they now recognised that they missed the opportunity to engage with the online community. Power, indeed, to the people.

We all want to empower ourselves with information; whether it's about friends, work colleagues or the latest celebrity blog - the need to know has never been more crucial to how we conduct our everyday lives. Now, you can get access to information about colleagues from social networks or line-of-business applications displayed in Outlook. Not only does this help to give business interactions a social context, but it can also help when meeting associates by strengthening business relationships and building networks.

With Outlook Social Connector, you can connect Microsoft Outlook 2010 to your business and personal social networks. This means that even from within Outlook, you can stay up to date on the status and activities of your contacts, whether they are from your business network, or from social networking sites on the Internet.

Using the Outlook Social Connector, you can view status updates, comments, messages and alerts from your favourite social network sites, all in one location in Outlook. You can also see a list of all Outlook items that you share with others in your social network, such as e-mail messages you have exchanged, attachments and meetings. The Outlook Social Connector also updates information in your Outlook contacts folders with any changes made on your contacts' social network profiles. This will help you to keep up to date both professionally or socially.

When you click an Outlook item, the People Pane displays contact information about the person associated with that item, and the latest activity by that person. This includes the latest status updates, comment posts or messages from social networks, in addition to Outlook items such as e-mail messages, calendar items and attachments.

Always remember to follow good practice guidelines and think about privacy before you disclose any personal information on a networking site. One American family found that their innocent Christmas round robin card had made them minor celebrities - in Prague. The couple were shocked to discover that their family's Christmas card photo was being used without their permission to advertise a supermarket's delivery service at the other side of the world.

The discovery was made by a friend of the family who happened to be driving through Prague when he spotted their picture splashed across a storefront advertisement. The couple had posted a photo of themselves with their two young children to family and friends as a Christmas card on a blog and a few social networking websites.

The owner of the Prague store admitted that he had sourced the image online and thought it was computer-generated. Since posting the story, the mother has received 180,000 hits to her website and insists that the next time she posts a family photo on the internet she will lower the resolution or add an electronic watermark to make it difficult to reproduce.

As social websites grow in popularity, a cartoonist has created a map which represents websites as countries and shows their size based on how popular they are. The map represents the levels of social activity in online communities such as Facebook, Twitter and Skype. The land mass of each mythical country named after a website equates to the popularity of that site, showing effectively how social activity is spread throughout the internet.

The map is based on statistical information, including website hits and the number of members each community had over the summer of 2010. E-mail dominates the map and Facebook features prominently, as does Twitter and Skype. MySpace, once one of the most popular social networking sites, is barely visible, and only slightly larger than LinkedIn. Farmville and Happy Farm sit prominently while YouTube, is a good-sized island. The most surprising inclusion for many is QQ, a Chinese instant messaging service which has more than 100 million users but is virtually unheard of in the west. Definitely a mover and shaker to look out for.