Why GetGlue No Longer Sticks

GetGlue has been a niche site used to mix entertainment fandoms and Social Media for several years now. It’s a wonderful two-way street; users take to Twitter and Facebook to notify their followers that they’re checking into a piece of entertainment, driving traffic back to these various topics. Companies, television stations, and brands can capitalize on this free promotion with the benefit of online word-of-mouth. In it’s own way, GetGlue promotes fan popularity, instigates curiosity, and spurs conversation all in one nifty package – a smart form of social marketing with payoffs for everyone involved.  But with a switch in interface and altered user experience, is it losing it’s proverbial glue? This blogger says yes.

Unfortunately, after the recent reboot GetGlue is simply a personal television guide and ‘check-in platform for TV and sports’, as Mashable properly labels it. What’s so bad about that? Nothing if you’re just now joining the GetGlue club, but for those of us who were with it from the start we saw a drastic cutback in freedom and creativity.

I used to love GetGlue because of it’s vast categorical options and unique fan ownership over specific topics. Once upon a time, one could be a fan of anything from a television show to a film, a book to a celebrity, a musical group to a hobby. Users could work hard checking in and commenting on these various topics to ultimately become Gurus, with the added bonus of receiving physical stickers in the mail for free. Luckily the stickers are one thing GetGlue didn’t trash.

Let’s break it down.

What you could be a fan of with the old GetGlue:

  • Television shows
  • Films
  • Books
  • Sports
  • Hobbies
  • Foods
  • Celebrities
  • Musical groups/Singers
  • Public figures
  • General Topics

What you can be a fan of with the new GetGlue:

  • Television shows
  • Films
  • Sports

So what’s the bigger deal? The old version of GetGlue not only offered variety, but it gave the fans something to playfully fight for. Friends and fellow influencers could vie for positions as top dog, getting a sense of accomplishment and ownership. These proclaimed Gurus could then edit the pages of various topics, adding information and changing out profile photos as a sort of reward for making it to the top. But if they became distracted on their throne and stopped checking in, another fan could swoop in and steal that title from them. In short – it was a game. A sometimes dirty, but ultimately fun and harmless game that served as an excellent marketing tool. Because users wanted to compete for that top spot, they more heavily promoted their coveted topics and made it a point to stay involved – a drive that the new upgrade takes away from fans.

In fairness GetGlue says that the complete overhaul is to improve user experience and that folks looking for the old site can still access it. They’ve also amped up interactivity, adding features that allow you to tag friends and more easily get in on the conversations taking place about shows, sports, and films – though in my opinion the new feed is messier and less attractive. GetGlue seems to be leaning towards aesthetics and layouts similar to Twitter and Facebook, veering away from their previously unique nature; an unfortunate trend in many Social Media venues looking to wedge their service in with the most popular forms of Social Sharing.

I know a handful of fellow users who are quite unimpressed with these changes and, in effect, have stopped using GetGlue unless they really want to check-in for a specific sticker. Hopefully for GetGlue’s sake they’ll listen to their influencers and bring back some of the older features that made it such a fun place to express personal passions and feel a sense of fan ownership. As one Mashable commenter put it, “This sucks! No music and No books. GetGlue you’re doing it wrong.”

In summary: if you’re looking for a somewhat bland but virtual TV, film, and sports guide to keep your viewing schedules in order, then the new GetGlue is for you.