I’ve recently gone back to GetGlue, after an extended hiatus. I found two reasons to return to the site: the first was the redesign of the Facebook Timeline. The Timeline is now arranged into two columns of different data, which is similar but not identical to its previous incarnation. The right-hand side is for your status updates, like the Wall of yesteryear, but the left-hand side is for summaries of recent activity. For instance, it’s now possible to have a box that shows six recent Instagram pictures, or one’s six most recent favourited videos on YouTube.
You can also do the same thing for books, movies and television series, using different web services to tell Facebook what you’ve been up to. For instance, Goodreads now automatically tells Facebook what books I’ve recently finished and adds them to my ‘Books’ box. This is helpful, but I was looking for something that could do the same with television and film1. Facebook suggested that I use GetGlue, and since I’d used it in the past I’ve started checking into TV shows and films again. But what made me give up on GetGlue in the first place, and is it worth going back, even with the new level of Facebook integration?
Several things annoyed me about GetGlue last time I used it. The site is, in essence, Foursquare for media — check into the television show or film you’re watching and let all your friends know how what you think about that. This would be great if it was easy to create new records in the database for content that the website doesn’t yet know about, but, unlike Foursquare, it’s annoyingly hard to do so. Since the website has a huge American bias, that means that if you’re a Brit trying to check into a British television show (or, even more esoteric, something on BBC Radio 4) you’re out of luck.
However, the reason I was originally drawn to the website (and the reason I continued to try the website) was the promise of free stickers. When you check into certain things, you win a sticker. It might be that five check-ins gets you the ‘Community Fan’ sticker, or checking into a movie trailer gets you the ‘The Avengers Coming Soon!’ sticker, but they’re cool. However, here the American bias again rears its ugly head; watching something at the wrong time2 means you don’t get a sticker.
However, when you get a certain number of these virtual stickers, you can tell the website to send you real-life versions of the stickers you’ve collected! Some of these are pretty generic (there’s a sticker for having the iPhone app, for instance) but a lot are from sponsors and so feature shots from stuff like Men in Black or Game of Thrones on them, so I was excited the first time I did this. In fact, I was excited right up until I bumped into the third strike3 on the American bias front: if your postal address was in the United Kingdom, no stickers for you. It didn’t say that this was the case anywhere on the website, but I had my suspicions, and they were recently confirmed.
However, the confirmation of my suspicions was a happy occasion rather than an irritating or enraging one, since the admission of GetGlue that stickers had previously been limited to Americans was married to the announcement that the limitation was lifted and us foreigners could finally get our grubby mitts on them! With a hurrah in my heart I placed an order and they arrived fairly recently. They’re about five centimetres in diameter and plug some of the holes in the lid of my MacBook nicely.
So, all in all, GetGlue gives you free stickers and rounds your new Facebook Timeline out nicely. Win!
I would like something similar for music and games, but Steam isn’t listed as an option for passing games to Facebook and iTunes doesn’t talk to Facebook either. Hopefully last.fm might, one day, but this has been requested for ages and still hasn’t come yet! ↩
Say, Castle via iTunes Season Pass a couple of days after it’s aired on US TV, or Oblivion when it’s out in the UK but not yet in the USA. ↩
I am, of course, aware of the irony of using an American idiom to decry an American bias. ↩