[LIFE AND TECH]<br />
#Shopping with Social Media<br />

As if we didn't spend enough time on social media networks, two of the largest are trying to ensure that we never logout again by continually adding new ways to stay engaged. Checking out friends' pictures or videos and playing games already sucker us into distraction. But now Facebook and Twitter are adding the ultimate productivity (and budget) killer to the mix: shopping. Both social networks have added a couple of new ways to keep you on their sites and get you spending.

If you pay attention to the birthday notification link on the right side of your Home page, you’ll notice that Facebook allows you to send your well wishes in the form of a status update. But recently, they’ve also added a link that will let you send a gift along with them. Facebook Gifts gives you the opportunity to send your friends presents without ever having to leave the social network. For birthdays or any occasion, Facebook has made gift-giving pretty much foolproof.  And they’re really nice gifts too - from retailers like Target, Starbucks, and Sephora.  Or choose by lots of different categories like beauty & grooming, flowers & gift baskets, or baby & kids.  You designate the friend and you don’t even have to know their personal information to send something. The friend gets a notification that a gift is coming, they enter their shipping info and voilà - you look like the most thoughtful person ever.  FYI:  if we’re friends on Facebook, any of the wine or food options are completely appropriate!

And not to be outdone, Twitter has teamed up with American Express to allow you to tweet and shop at the same time. If you have an Amex card and link it to your Twitter account, you get the inside scoop on exclusive deals from American Express on products like the Xbox 360, Kindle Fire HD, or Amex gift cards. All you have to do to take advantage of the deal is tweet using a specific hashtag, American Express sends you a tweet in return asking you to confirm, and your purchase is automatically charged to your card and shipped to the address on file with the credit card company. Shopping doesn’t really get much simpler than that.

As social networks continue to try to find ways to monetize their business, we’ll see a lot more of these types of offerings in the future. And while I can appreciate the convenience of being able to check one more thing off my to-do list at the touch of a button, the idea of using social media to shop doesn’t quite sit well with me. Even though we already give social networks way too much access to our personal information, I’m not in any rush to volunteer more by adding my shopping habits and financial info to the mix.

What do you think? Will you take advantage of social media shopping?

Follow tech-life expert Stephanie Humphrey on Twitter.