Social Networking for…Everything?

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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

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.

Restaurants

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 ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.

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