Traditionally, booze and social networking have always gone hand in hand. During the 20th century, men and women would leave their homes and visit drinking locations called “bars” and “pubs.” There they would imbibe various beverages and, if the fates intervened, would go home with each other for coffee and perhaps a moment or two of Bible study. Those, friends, were simpler times.
With the rise of electronic social networking, however, we find that the boozing imperative is sorely lacking. You could potentially send a friend a virtual beer on Facebook and most MySpace pages require ether or nitrous to truly appreciate in their gaudy brilliance but there is no one place you can go to meet some folks with similar interests and, ultimately, meet for coffee and/or the aforementioned Bible study. That was until CocktailMatch.
CocktailMatch is a good idea. It segregates its users by drink preference and creates a dark and smoky atmosphere where singles and like-minded drinkers can congregate and mingle. The main building block is the vBar. You can create these virtual bars on the fly and invite friends and post news and comments, just like any other social network. Because you form little tribes you basically ensure that you don’t have to mix with wine drinkers or cigar smokers when you hit the whiskey bar. They are supposed to focus on the different personality traits suggested by the various types of drink – the perception that wine drinkers are calm and composed, tequila drunks are surly and angry – but in a good way.
The site itself has improved over the few versions I’ve seen and it seems to be ready for common use. The main goal, said founder Alfonso Escamilla, is to bring older folks into the social networking equation, folks who might be turned off to Facebook’s obsessive attention to your personal details and/or many on-line dating sites’ obsessive attention to getting you to pay them. As a combination social network and dating system you kind of get the best of both worlds while creating a virtual meat market that rivals the Regal Beagle during the days of Mr. Roper.
The concept is strong and fun but the site is a work in progress. Many of the features are hard to figure out and there are some typos in the default messaging. It’s a bit sparse right now, as well, but I just added Porkys to the site so we can all congregate and even surprise old Mrs. Balbricker.