Social Networking for the Holidays

FRESNO, Calif.

The brand new $1.99 Food Network's In the Kitchen app for the iPhone, features 45,000 recipes from the network's chefs, including Thanksgiving-centered dishes. It even includes shopping lists that can be shared via email, Facebook and Twitter.

Those social networks can help you not just in the kitchen, but for holiday shopping and gift giving as well.

Check in with Facebook Places on your smart phone, and a new deals program alerts you to discounts at businesses near your location. The latest was free denim at the Gap. Just show your phone to the cashier. The program also offers group deals for you and your friends, loyalty rewards for regular customers, and charity deals, where businesses make a donation for every customer checking in.

It's time to start thinking about holiday gift-giving, and Facebook can help you with that too.

This week eBay launched its Group Gifts service. Users select an item they want to give as a group gift, and connect with friends on Facebook to collectively pay for it via Pay Pal. The program can even look at the recipient's Facebook profile and make gift suggestions.

Amazon has added a new feature that lets you send gift cards to your friend's Facebook walls. You can choose from a number of gift card designs, and include a personal message.

Those gurus of turkey talk, Butterball, have moved beyond their 1-800 BUTTERBALL help line. Butterball has a blog and is now on Facebook and Twitter as well.

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