Checking back in on a subject I think many of you would be interested in reading. There's been a lot written in the press lately about how people will use Microsoft Vine. Many of the articles, like this one, talk about Vine's potential to help people in emergency situations.

Helping people and communities in times of crisis is an important part of our mission. But we built Vine to be useful in everyday situations, too. We believe that the only way you'll ever use Vine during an emergency is if you're already familiar and comfortable with it in your everyday life.

With that in mind, here are a few of the examples of how we envision people using Microsoft Vine during our Beta:

Get help with childcare. Imagine you're a parent and your child needs an early ride home from school because she's sick. You're stuck at work, so you need to quickly find someone you trust to give your child a ride home and look after her.

You could start calling and emailing people you trust, maybe leave a few messages and wait for someone to get back to you. Or, you could send one Vine alert to all your emergency contacts and have the message delivered via email, text message and through the Vine client. And, when one of those contacts replies back and offers to pick up your daughter, everyone sees the reply so they know that the situation is resolved. It's a lot faster than using email or a phone tree. It is also better for the people you reach out to; if your neighbor is in a meeting they would probably rather get a text message than having the phone ring. They can see what is needed and reply without stepping out of the meeting.

Connect with trusted neighbors: When you go out of town or on vacation, use to Vine to "Post a Report" of your upcoming plans. Ask trusted neighbors to keep an eye on your house and let them know how to reach you while you're away.

Vine provides many pre-populated reports to choose from. For example, when cars get broken into, you can post a report of suspicious activity. Or, you can report an upcoming event, like a backyard BBQ. If you are wondering how to get your neighborhood setup we have good news. One of our early adopters shared a way to get your neighbors on Vine and I'll add that to our blog soon.

Report a last-minute field change. Warmer weather means lots of outdoor sports. But when there's a last-minute change, like a softball game getting rained out or a soccer game changing fields, notifying team members can be a real challenge. With Vine you can send one alert to team members and have it reach them via text message, e-mail, and via the Vine client. So whether they're at work, en route to the game, at home or elsewhere, your message has a better chance of reaching them in time.

Of course, each of these scenarios requires some preparation. You will need to download Vine, set up your "Vitals", invite the people you want to connect with, and then add them to a group (i.e., emergency contacts, neighbors, softball team). If you need help at any time, you'll find lots of useful information in the Vine forums.

These are just a few of the ways that we planned for people to use Vine in their daily lives during our Beta. We still have a lot to learn about how people want to use it, what works and what doesn't. How do you want to use Vine? As you use it, we hope that you'll take a moment to share your stories and ideas, so we can learn from you and make Vine even better.

More later,

'GrapeVine'