When not posting here, one of my favorite internet time sucks is a bit compulsive and a bit addictive: social shopping.
It sounds a bit sad, like those flavored sprays that taste like dessert but are really just chocolate Binaca. But social shopping is hands down better than any gift guide and solves almost all of the major problems one faces when looking online for men’s gifts, women’s gifts, or any other particular gift in a demographic that doesn’t encompass you. Part of the difficulty in shopping for others is that it is difficult to find a range of gifts to choose from that are appropriate for the important people in your life. Shopping for your best friend is one thing, but your mom or your spouse or your boss often have very different interests, and shopping for them can be a series of challenges.
The other is that gift guides- while sometimes helpful- are so limited. Five or ten selections that may or may not be out of your price range cobbled together do little to help when you have a picky boyfriend and a small budget, right? Which is where the handy and underappreciated social shopping comes in. For me, it started with Wists, but Wanelo is my new crack-like social shopping addiction. (A sample search for beer gifts.) Here’s how it works: users install a bookmarklet that can be used while browsing the web to catalog and tag items with keywords. Then a search for interests- instead of culling results from just Amazon, or just Target- will pull up mostly purchasable men’s gifts, women’s gifts, babies’ gifts from across the web. Most items are tagged by price, and you can “collect” items in sub-lists like “For My New Mansion” or “Gear” (or any customizable category) to come back to when you wish to purchase them. (Or just to let them sit in a pretty wishlist.)
How do you find specific gifts among all the options on the web?