Beginners Guide to Using Cork'd
Cork’d was designed by Dan Cederholm and developed by Dan Benjamin. Both are well known in the web development community as leaders in their respective fields. The two gentlemen love wine, and they wanted to use their collective skill to produce an application that would allow them to learn about, review, find and share wine online.
Cork’d was developed as a personal project (not deadline fueled client work), thus was given the time and attention to detail that is rarely seen in the web development business. After a stint in Beta, Cork’d officially launched in March of 2006. It made a splash right out of the gate.
But it wasn’t all good for the new “wine 2.0” darling. Naysayers ripped into the idea of a site devoted to socially generated tasting notes. While their arguments have merit, they did’t understand that Cork’d isn’t just about tasting notes, it’s about community.
Fast forward a year, it’s May 17th, 2007 and Cork’d is still growing. With over 20,000 users, it seems that the online wine community is the real deal. So much so that wine v-logger Gary Vaynerchuk and rails expert Erik Kastner acquired Cork’d. They have been rather secretive about what is in store for Cork’d but Gary explained, “We have big things coming for Cork’d, just wait!”
Before launching into the functionality of Cork’d, I’m going to outline some of the reasons why you would want to join their community. You can,
- *Keep an online journal of the wines you have tried and your opinions in one place;
- Share those opinions with others on the site;
- Keep track of the wines in you own;
- Keep track of the wines you want to buy;
- Recommend the wines you like to others, and get recommendations from others;
- Make friends and interact with others online that have similar tastes;
- Discover new wines.*
How to Use Cork’d
Like many other well thought out web applications, signing up is easy. After activating your account, it’s time to start reviewing and recommending wine. Filling out your personal profile is optional, but only takes a few seconds, and is good for you and the community. The major navigation is in the left column and looks like this;
The menu contains links to your: main profile page, wine journal, wine cellar, shopping list, drinking buddies and recommendations.
Building Your Wine Journal
Keeping track of the wines you’ve tasted and what you thought of them is the heart and soul of Cork’d. It’s the foundation that Cork’d is built on; so lets see the best way to do it. Before you take the jump and add a new wine to the data base, you should search for it to see if someone else has already done the dirty work. If the wine is in the search results, click on it, and you will be presented with the following options; review, add to cellar or add to shopping list.
If you want to add it to your journal, click review. You will then be taken to a page that allows you put in your rating, tasting notes, private notes and tags; all of which will be saved to your profile. Now that you have added your information, you can recommend this wine to your Cork’d drinking buddies.
Of course, to send it to buddies you have to have some first;
Getting Popular on Cork’d
There are many places you can interact with people on Cork’d. The best kind of buddies are those with similar tastes, because they can recommend wines you may like. To find your buddies, search for the wines you like, then see who uploaded and reviewed them. If you like that person’s taste, you can add them as a buddy. You can then see what they have been drinking, recommend wines to them and receive recommendations. It’s a great way to find new wines from places other than Spectator and Enthusiast.
If you are looking for someone specific, or you want to invite someone to Cork’d, you can use the buddy search feature. It allows you to search for buddies by screen name, first name, last name, city, state, or country.
Also, when you are buddies with someone, you can send them a message with Cork’d’s internal message system and leave them a comment on their Cork’d Board. The Cork’d Board is at the bottom of your main profile page and is very similar to the MySpace comments.
Your Wine Cellar & Shopping List
You can keep track of the wines that you own in your Cork’d wine cellar. Like the wine journal, before you add the wine, search for it to see if someone else has already added it. If it’s not in the data base, you have to add it, which is a pretty simple process. But if it is, then click on the wine, then click the + add to cellar link.
You will then be able to assign how many bottles you have, their physical location and which bin they are in. On the opposite end of this spectrum is the shopping list, where you can keep track of the wines you want to buy. This feature is great because it allows you to search the site, and bookmark wines you want to buy and drink in the future.
There are more RSS feeds on Cork’d than users, in fact, more than four times as many. You can get a feed to each list in your profile; wine journal, wine cellar, shopping list and recommendations. You can also get general Cork’d feeds like recently added, recently reviewed and most popular. Cork’d explains how to use their feeds on your the feed page off your profile.
Exporting Cork’d Stuff
On February, 1st, the Cork’d team rolled out a feature that allows you to export your wine lists in three different formats; spreadsheet (.xls), plain text, and XML. In your profile, you are presented with these options;
Cork’d Widgets and Badges
If you’re a huge Cork’d fan, you can put a badge or widget on your website or blog. If you want a badge, go to the Cork’d remote page of your profile, right click and save the badge image to your computer, then upload onto your server or a photo application like flickr.
Cork’d widgets can allow you to show lists from your profile on other websites. You may have seen this widget on Gary Vaynerchuk’s blog. It pulls the wines that he recently reviewed onto his blog. But you can pull more than wines from your journal; you can also do so from your cellar, shopping list and recommendations.
Cork’d can be a great resource for you to store and share your wine online. The application is useful and fun. Remember, don’t be afraid to add people as drinking buddies, the rules of polite society don’t apply in social networks. It’s perfectly acceptable to add a stranger as a buddy. If you know other ways to get the most out of cork’d please leave a note and let everyone know.
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