(This post was originally written for the “Social Media in the Enterprise” course at Syracuse University, taken as part of the curriculum for my MLIS degree. The original post may be accessed at the class blog, RotoloClass. Direct link here.)
I first noticed GetGlue on Twitter. One of my friends suddenly became a GetGlue fiend, and every other tweet of his looked like this:
I quickly learned what shows he watched, what artists he listened to at work, and which movies were his guilty pleasures. Before long, he started posting from GetGlue on Facebook too. I tried to ignore it for a while. I manage enough personal and pseudo-professional social networks already. But try as I might, I couldn’t resist the allure of something new, especially when it’s free and easy to get started. At the time of this post, I’ll have been a GetGlue user for about six months.
What is GetGlue, and who is behind it?
GetGlue is a social network for entertainment, where users share what they are watching, listening to, reading, or even thinking about. In turn, users receive recommendations, exclusive stickers, discounts and other rewards from their favorite shows and movies.
It was developed by New York-based company AdaptiveBlue. According to CrunchBase, AdaptiveBlue was founded in 2007 and has 15 employees. The service originally launched in October 2008 as a Firefox browser add-on, but has since experienced a number of changes and improvements.
Here are a few specs from their About page:
- 2 million users checked in more than one hundred million times in 2011
- Receives funding from Union Square Ventures, RRE Ventures, Time Warner, Rho Ventures, etc.
- 75 major TV networks and 10 movie studios use GetGlue to promote their shows and films
Clearly, they’re not lacking in supporters. This strong financial backing contributes to GetGlue’s popularity. The company’s partnerships with networks and studios allows them to offer users exclusive content from their favorite shows and films.
GetGlue shares many similarities with a number of familiar and popular social networks, leading some to call it the “Foursquare of Entertainment.” This also makes it easy for new users to learn the ropes.
Similar to Foursquare, you “check-in” to whatever you are currently doing, and you also have the option of “liking” that particular activity or item. The more you check-in, the more personalized GetGlue becomes. GetGlue then offers recommendations, similar to Netflix, Spotify and Pandora. You may also see what’s trending among your friends and beyond, and GetGlue will even offer suggestions for other users to follow, based on your entertainment preferences. (At the time of this post, the 2012 Summer Olympics Opening Ceremony had the most check-ins at 7,989.)
One of the main attractions of GetGlue may be its Foursquare-esque gaming elements. Check-ins detailing your entertainment consumption earn you points and virtual stickers, which are strikingly similar to Foursquare badges. Here are a few of my stickers:
It makes for a pretty neat visual representation of my film/TV tastes.
Checking in and liking various films, books and TV shows also allows GetGlue to fine-tune its recommendations, and after a period of time users may also earn discounts. While I haven’t earned any discounts yet, this is reminiscent of some of Klout’s perks. Users receive rewards for regular use. Once each month, users may also request real versions of their earned stickers for free. Stickers are only mailed in batches of 20. Some of these stickers are exclusive in that you may only earn them if you check in at a certain time.
For example, last week I attended the premiere for “The Dark Knight Rises” and checked-in via GetGlue. For that check-in, I earned three stickers: a “coming soon” sticker, a generic “The Dark Knight Rises” sticker, and a sticker specifically for IMAX. “Mad Men” and “Game of Thrones” viewers received a new and unique sticker if they checked in to every new episode when it premieres.
Like every social network, you may automatically share your GetGlue activity on Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr. Within GetGlue, you can comment on anyone’s check-ins:
This is also a trivial point, but as discussed earlier in the semester, certain “titles” are cringe-worthy. Such as calling yourself a guru. However, GetGlue bestows the title on users who are “especially passionate” about something they check-in to regularly. Each item/activity may only have one guru, so it’s pretty difficult to earn the title. It’s similar to Foursquare’s mayorships in that if you’re not paying attention, someone could steal your… guru-ship.
GetGlue may be found on nearly every platform. You may check-in via your browser, or the iPhone, iPad or Android apps. I was able to compare the iPad and Android apps. The iOS app is the most pared down version, and only shows you your recent check-ins.
From top to bottom:
1. iPad app home screen,
2. My recent movie check-ins,
3. My recent book check-ins.
The Android app shows both recent check-ins and trending items.
From left to right: 1. Android app home screen, 2. My recent movie check-ins and current trending movies, 3. My recent book check-ins and current trending books.
GetGlue is a great marketing tool for its partners. It’s a pretty fascinating model. GetGlue taps into the inherent social aspect of media consumption. We have always shared new book, film, and music discoveries with our friends, and GetGlue offers us a way to quickly and easily broadcast our interests on the Web. GetGlue also taps into our potential as individual marketing channels, similar to how some companies have identified and courted faithful customers on Twitter.
Instead of being discreet, GetGlue and its partners are pretty transparent about their reciprocal relationship. In a sense, every party involved gets something in return. Every time you check-in to a show or film, you are essentially advertising to all your friends, and the studios and networks also learn more about your entertainment consumption. In turn, many of GetGlue’s partners offer discounts or exclusive stickers as rewards for being avid and fervent fans. GetGlue itself earns revenue through affiliate relationships when users click through from the GetGlue site or apps to buy books, DVDs, etc.
GetGlue is fun for anyone who gets into all the hype surrounding live events or TV show and film premieres. Fewer people check in for activities such as playing video games or thinking about sleeping, since real-time participation in these activities rarely coincides with a premiere or live event. For me, the most attractive aspects are learning about my friends’ interests and the stickers, especially when my favorite TV shows are on air. I love seeing the new stickers, and sometimes I consider them badges of honor, as in my “The Dark Knight rises” premiere stickers.
Those who dislike the phenomenon of over-sharing probably won’t enjoy GetGlue. The incentives to use it are similar to those of Foursquare: to be seen/known, to earn rewards/prizes, and to share your interests.