Here's a quick tutorial to help you do more with Microsoft Vine. If you haven't downloaded the Vine beta and installed it, you'll need to do that first. Visit the Vine Web site to request an invitation if you aren't already registered.

Create your vitals card. Log in and then click "Vitals" in the upper-left corner of your Vine dashboard. Vitals is where you can enter your contact information, and do a few other notable things. For example, you can:

  • Change the e-mail address at which you receive Vine alerts.
  • Add a cell-phone number for sending and receiving SMS (text) alerts. Your mobile carrier's standard message charges apply, see terms and conditions.
  • Add a social network. Click "Edit my social network" in the Vitals drawer, then select the social network(s) you belong to, like Facebook. This enables the people you care about on Vine to view your social network sites and see your Facebook status updates.

Add places you care about. Click "Places" from your Vine dashboard. Then click "Add a Place" in the bottom-left corner of the Places drawer. Enter an address to receive information about this place from 20,000 news and public safety sources.

Invite people to join you. Think of who you want to be connected to when it really matters. Invite them by clicking "People" from your Vine dashboard, then click "Add People" in the bottom-left corner of the People drawer. Enter their e-mail address and they will receive an invitation via e-mail. If you don't know their e-mail address, invite them with this postcard (PDF). (Address book integration will be added in the future but for now you can cut and paste any comma or semicolon delimited list.)

Create your groups. Organize people into groups so it's easy for you to reach them all at once – the sports team you coach, people who live nearby, family far away. Click "People" from your Vine dashboard, then click "Create a group" in the bottom-left corner of the People drawer. You'll see "Emergency contacts" as the default group.

Send an alert. Use Alerts to reach people quickly. For example, if you're stuck at work and need someone to pick up your child at school, send a Vine alert to your emergency contacts. You can send and receive alerts via e-mail, text message, or your Vine dashboard. To send from your Vine dashboard, click the "Send Alert" button to begin. To send via e-mail or text message, print this emergency card (PDF) for instructions.

Post a report. Share information with the people you care about –details of your upcoming adventure; an event in the neighborhood; breaking news for family and friends; and most important, that you are safe and well in any situation. Click "Post Report" from your Vine dashboard to choose from a set of pre-populated reports or to create your own.

How do you use Vine? Send us feedback. We are looking for more ideas on how people are using Vine to share with others.