Five years ago no one knew what a social network was. Now there are quite literally hundreds of millions of people sharing their daily experiences with friends, colleagues and the world at large via sites like Facebook and Twitter.
As with so many things, my goal is to provide you with integration, choice and control. Over the past couple of years (starting in January, 2009) CellarTracker has had integration with Twitter and more recently (November, 2010) with Facebook as well. If you use Facebook and like to share the occasional wine or tasting note with friends or family, well now you have the opportunity to let CellarTracker place a nicely formatted and linked label image on your Facebook news feed to let your friends know what you are buying, drinking or tasting. Likewise for Twitter, whether you maintain public or private lists of followers, if you so choose you can broadcast similar information (within the constraints of a 140 character textual limit). All postings to Facebook and Twitter can be easily suppressed with simple checkboxes during the aforementioned actions on CellarTracker.
The topic of Social Media is a controversial one and certainly does not appeal to all users of CellarTracker. If you find the whole concept silly, narcissistic, or annoying, no problem, stop reading. These integration features are optional. If you are just a bit worried what your friends might think of your wine habit, well either get some new friends (that's supposed to be a joke) or just use the features to only send out occasional notices on favorite or special bottles.
Two years ago the application architectures of these social media platforms were less secure, in some case requiring you to trust your username and password to sites like CellarTracker. More recently however there has been some degree of standardization around mechanisms that are more secure and give users much more control over what applications and websites can access or post to your Facebook and Twitter accounts.
The key concept here is one of a valet key with a remote controlled self-destruct. CellarTracker has pre-registered applications on each platform. When you go to turn on these applications you are asked by Facebook or Twitter whether to grant this application permission to post on your behalf. If you say yes, then Facebook and Twitter fashion completely custom 'valet keys' that are only designed to allow access to your account via CellarTracker. The beauty of this system though is that the keys are centrally managed. Within Facebook and Twitter you can see a list of all apps and websites that have been granted permission. YOU have the power to revoke permission at any point and invalidate the valet key. In Twitter you can change your password and the key is unaffected. (Facebook chooses to invalidate all keys on password change.)
The specific user-interface entry points are discussed in more detail below.
There are literally hundreds of sharing services out there, so in the new CellarTracker site one of our first features was to have a SHARE button on every page that uses the excellent service from AddThis.com. This is our generic sharing solution. In addition, below we describe more specific Facebook and Twitter integration that date back to the old site over the past few years.
In the Facebook application model applications ask for specific levels of permission. The CellarTracker applications (I have a separate application for signup from the beta) requires three specific permissions:
If any of these permissions are controversial for you, then my advice is not to use the integration.
One important limitation of Facebook is that it does limit/throttle the total number of posts a user can make from CellarTracker to their profile in a 24-hour period. The good news is that as more users exercise the integration the more that Facebook raises this limit. If the application ever stops working, just wait 24 hours and then try again.
Since Facebook moved to their newer "timeline" user interface, people often ask "where the heck are my CellarTracker updates?" Sadly that is question you need to direct to Facebook. However to troubleshoot, click into your profile and then click on your ACTIVITY LOG to see for sure if CellarTracker posted to your account successfully.
Pictured below is the Facebook signup dialog.
Within Facebook if you ever want to revoke posting permissions for CellarTracker you can navigate to the Facebook privacy options and then the Application Settings as shown below.
Pictured below is the Twitter signup dialog.
Within Twitter if you ever want to revoke posting permissions for CellarTracker you can navigate to the Twitter Settings and then Connections to revoke access as shown below.