Social Networking for…Everything?


It’s no secret that social networks have quite literally taken over the world. With networks such as Facebook and Twitter boasting billions of users, social networking has become front and center for just about everything we do in life. So much so, that most people don’t ever unplug.  People are constantly on social networks primarily for personal endeavors, like posting pictures, videos, updates on everyday life, and talking with friends. Is there social networking for everything? New networks are popping up every day, many with specific purposes. In addition to dedicated social networks, many existing sites are also adding a social aspect as well.

Here are some industries that have recently been infiltrated by social media:

Real Estate

It only makes sense that renting or buying/selling a home or apartment would go social. In the past, if a person had a house to rent, they had to rely on a sign in the yard and word of mouth to let people know that the space was available. Now, there are several social networks dedicated to helping people find places to live. A few examples:

  • Trulia, which invites response from real estate agents
  • Crashpad, which can help you find an apartment as well as a roommate


Travel sites are nothing new; booking travel online has become a way of life for many people. But the social aspect of booking travel online is a relatively new scene. Sites like Trip Advisor and Home Away not only offer hotel and airline reservations, but they also have reviews of popular attractions and local businesses. Another idea that is new to the travel scene is home swapping. Website pair up people who are interested in travelling and they arrange to stay in each other’s homes, eliminating some travel costs. If this isn’t social, then I don’t know what is.


Social reviews of restaurants has probably been around the longest. Sites like Urbanspoon and Yelp have offered people the ability to rate and review restaurants (and with Yelp, other businesses as well) for several years now. I have to admit that Urbanspoon is one of my favorite sites to visit. It’s fun to read about other people’s experiences at restaurants. These sites can give you an idea of what to expect from the perspective of other patrons, not just food critics or the restaurant itself.

As always, it’s important to exercise caution when using any of these networks. Beware of how much personal information that you broadcast, the internet is an endless archive and once you put that information out there, it’s going to be there forever. And remember, just because a restaurant has great reviews on Urbanspoon doesn’t mean that it’s really all that great!

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Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.

Has Instagram become Pornstagram?


There are few things I loathe more than a hypocritical network whose actions aren’t consistent with their guidelines… even if it’s the same platform I’ve promoted, defended, championed and became instafamous on during the last year. That’s right Pornstagram, errr I mean Instagram, I’m talking about you. Has Instagram become Pornstagram?

Has Instagram become Pornstagram

It probably doesn’t come as a surprise that instaporn runs rampant on the photo sharing network. Articles published last August from Huffington Post and Daily Mail, among others, have already exposed the sexier side of Instagram. I’m not here to discuss whether or not this is wrong.

Fact of the matter is we live in a sexually driven society and if a 14yr old boy wants to see some T&A, he’ll find it somewhere else, like tumblr, where x-rated material is commonplace and allowed, if it’s not available on Instagram.


Innocent Victim

So where’s the beef? My contention comes from the manner in which Instagram chooses to play their “terms and condition” card. You see, I have a friend who recognized an opportunity to help attractive girls get Instagram famous.

I’ll refer to him as Kevin because he wishes to remain anonymous for fear that IG will disable(delete) his personal account, too, if he speaks out. But I’m not scurred, I’m gonna stand up and fight for equal rights anytime.

Here’s the long and the short of Kevin’s operation. He would give shoutouts to girls wearing skimpy outfits such as bikinis and lingerie. A shoutout is when you mention/recommend to follow another Instagrammer. Here are a few examples of what was posted on Kevin’s page (faces blurred since posts are no longer on Instagram and not considered public anymore)

Instagram Provocative Photos

I don’t see any nudity here, or partial nudity, for that matter. Are these pictures provocative and/or maybe suggestive? Sure. Is it anything you couldn’t see in a Maxim Magazine or Victoria’s Secret catalog? No. But, the funny thing is, Kevin has had 2 instagram pages shutdown for violation of terms since Mid-March.

I know firsthand how much time and energy he put in while building each account to 19,000+ and 28,000+ followers, respectively. For instagram to disable these pages without any sort of explanation or response is preposterous, if not insulting. Though, not responding to concerned users seems to be the norm with Instagram… unless you’re a major website or magazine, of course.


Preferential Treatment

With me being that instafamous guy and all, I offered my assistance to see if I could garner a response from their support team. Over the last month, a combined 40+ emails went unresponded to. Now, after investing all this time and experiencing such frustration, it’s personal. Especially after seeing “about us” entries such as this

The Chive Gap

SO THEY REALLY DO RESPOND!?! It would be one thing if Instagram was REALLY putting forth an initiative to rid its network of mature content. However, it’s a completely different animal when a network is obviously choosing who gets immunity to post what they want and who goes to instajail.

This is all the proof needed to show that Instagram is giving the green light to post racy pictures. Before I go on with the additional evidence, allow me to say I love The Chive website. I also admire and appreciate the women who are in Suicide Girls or published in Playboy. I think they should be allowed to have Instagram Accounts, BUT ONLY IF PEOPLE LIKE KEVIN CAN DO THE SAME THING!

A network as large as Instagram should know better than to allow certain brands/publications to post content which is even more revealing than what they shut down other pages for. Call me crazy, but these pics look a lot more nude and suggestive than what Kevin was running!

Pornstagram Playboy

Granted the kibbles and bits aren’t showing, but they all have seem to be missing something… CLOTHES! So much for not allowing nudity, right?

Instagram does offer a feature to report/flag content that you find inappropriate. To further my point, I went ahead and flagged each of these posts on multiple occasions last week since they’re clearly in violation of IG’s mythical terms. Not surprisingly, all three of these accounts are still active and none of the posts were removed. If these three entities are allowed to post beautiful women, why can’t Kevin?


Stop the Charade

I’ll be the first to agree that there is no place for underage nudity or sexually explicit content, but I can still find both on Instagram. Worry about that getting rid of that stuff so I don’t have to see a dude’s junk when I’m searching tagged posts. Worry about the spam-bots and fake profiles that have overrun your network. Stop acting like a playground bully and let everyone play in your sandbox instead of kicking the small guys out.

Really, there are two choices for Instagram and their Big Brother, Facebook. Either manage/limit ONLY the smuttiest (underage/explicit) OR eliminate the showing of skin altogether FOR EVERYBODY… none of this half-assed “We restricted a few tags and are removing a few pages” strategy.

So the ball is in your court Instagram Team… what’s it gonna be? Either shutdown these popular pages which are in violation of your terms or reinstate my friend’s @fantassticgirls account since you knowingly allow these pages to post content more mature than what he was posting.

I want to hear from you…what do you all think about this? Am I overreacting or do you agree are clearly two sets of standards here? What other examples of preferential treatment on social networks have you seen?


If you enjoyed this article, check another piece from Tony on how to become instagram famous

Tony Bennett is a passionate photographer, future Senator, and Instagram Superhero with over 100K Followers.  Above all Tony is great guy and would be happy to answer all your Instagram questions below.

Why You Should Use Instagram for Your Business


Instagram is arguably one of the hottest social networks right now, and you should use Instagram for your business. What started out as a small, somewhat underground network has now blown up into a huge online presence with more than 100 million users. I think it’s safe to say that most people with accounts on other major social media networks like Facebook or Twitter are now participating in Instagram as well.

Instagram uses the #hashtag, similar to Twitter. Users can tag their photos, then people who view the photo can click on the hashtag to see other photos that are tagged the same way. While some people make up their own hashtags, there are some that are popular and have become kind of a staple on the network. Some examples of this would include #dogsofinstagram, #latergram (when you post a photo after it was taken) or #tbt (throw back Thursday, where users post photos from their past). Instagram has proven to encourage lots of interaction between users.

In April 2012, Facebook purchase Instagram for approximately $1 billion. The networks are now integrated, and the Instagram Why You Should Use Instagram for Your Businessinterface offers users the opportunity to share photos directly to Facebook, Twitter, and several other networks as well.

So with the popularity of Instagram on the rise, it only makes sense to figure out a way to make it work for your small business. With more than a hundred million active users, you are bound to reach your audience by using this network.

Here are some ways that you can use Instagram to become instafamous:

Feature your products or services – Instagram offers fun filters that you can use to change your photos. You can also edit them right in the app. Take fun, artistic photos of things that you offer as a business. It’s more visually interesting than just a straightforward photo listing of products. There are also other apps, such as PicStitch, that you can use to combine several photos into one.

Let your customers know that you have an account – the great thing about Facebook and Instagram being integrated is that you can share photos on both accounts. By taking the step of putting your Instagram photos on Facebook, your followers will see that you have an Instagram account and check it out.

Have a relevant but fun username – Instagram is a great place to get a little more creative and fun. While your user name should definitely relate to your business, I think it’s fine to have a little fun with your username.

Use hashtags – some Instagram users merely post photos, but don’t use hashtags for each one. If you use relevant hashtags for each post, more people will see the photos that you post. For instance, if you tag your photo #saleoftheday, anyone who clicks on that tag from any photo will be able to see your photo also.

Instagram can be a fun social network to use for personal photos, but it can also be another weapon in your business’ social media arsenal!

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Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.