5 Ways Journalists Can Use GetGlue

Have you heard of GetGlue, an entertainment-focused social network?

If you aren’t familiar with the site, you basically log in, pick your favorite movies, shows, books or music, then check-in and share what you are watching, reading, or listening to with other GetGlue members.

Sharing information on GetGlue is similar to Twitter in that you write short messages about say, the latest twist on “The Voice,” and share it in real-time. You can also start conversations with other viewers or rate their comments.

So far, the site, which already has two million members, has largely been ignored by news outlets as a social network to use to engage with readers. Yet Trendrr.tv reports that in March, 16 percent of comments about TV came from GetGlue, second only to Twitter. GetGlue also recently partnered with Storify to help TV networks engage with readers.

Not everyone loves GetGlue. I’ve heard some users say that the company has spammed them and they don’t enjoy using it. I, however, think it has a lot of applications, especially for newsrooms. The fact Storify is teaming up with GetGlue confirms my feelings.

You might be skeptical about applying GetGlue to the news. So here’s five ways your newsroom can use GetGlue to engage more with its audience.

Find Story Ideas In GetGlue Comments

One way to use GetGlue is for story inspiration. Some comments may be terrible and not make any sense but there’s always a jewel in the rough.

Take this comment I saw on GetGlue when searching for “New York Yankees.”

Immediately, I wanted to know more. How old was the child? Why was this commenter in the hospital? What is this legacy that is mentioned? A little digging could reveal a great feature story.

In case you’re wondering, people definitely leave comments on GetGlue. When “Game of Thrones” premiered earlier this month, it received so many comments — around 60,000 — that the site crashed, Mashable reported.

Have Your Local Entertainment Critic “Watch” A Movie With Readers

How cool would it be to watch a movie and see what Wesley Morris, The Boston Globe‘s Pulitzer Prize-winning movie critic, has to say about it?

Not a problem with GetGlue. The paper publicizes an upcoming airing of “Good Willing Hunting” and that Morris would be logged onto GetGlue to offer his opinions on the movie. Just provide Morris’ account name and you’re good to go.

Maybe a reader and Morris share the same favorite scene from “Good Will Hunting,” something that might never be unearthed without this type of interaction.

In terms of stories, readers can provide insider tidbits about the movies shot in the area that the reporter didn’t know already. That could be the basis for a great crowdsourced article.

This idea could just as easily be done with a TV critic and a popular show instead of a movie. If the chat goes over well, “Watch Popular Show With John Doe on GetGlue” could turn into a regular feature.

Put Your Political Expert on GetGlue During the 2012 Presidential Debates

Do you have a favorite political consultant you always turn to for commentary on the candidates? I bet you’re planning on using that expert during the upcoming presidential election. Why not put him or her on GetGlue during the presidential debates?

While watching a debate, the expert could provide his comments on GetGlue. How are the candidates doing? Did one slip up and make a gaffe? Readers could chime in with their own observations or questions. Facts made during the debate could be questioned and clarified.

The New York Times is already doing something similar with #askNYT, where readers on Twitter use the hashtag  to ask the paper to fact-check a point made in a debate. GetGlue can be used to achieve similar results but you don’t need a hashtag to track readers’ comments.

This idea can be especially useful for newsrooms in swing states, where viewers are bound to have starkly differing opinions. You’d get real-time reactions from voters, with additional commentary from an expert, all at the same time. The best comments or questions could then be published as a sidebar to the story.

Did You See That Amazing Shot/Homer/Pass?

Sports are a huge way to engage with readers. The Olympics are coming up in less than 100 days and are sure to be something your readers are interested in. Most likely, neither you nor your readers are heading over to London for the games, so why not watch them on TV together?

People feel very passionate about sports and like to discuss the topic. Use that to your advantage on GetGlue. A quick search of different sports teams shows that fans are watching and commenting on each other’s posts. Join in the conversation!

Or maybe you are the new sports reporter in your newsroom. Gain more exposure by logging onto GetGlue and interacting with readers watching the baseball/basketball/football/hockey/whatever game that’s on. It’ll not only show you are digitally-savvy but also create new bonds between you and your readers.

Engage with Readers on a Regular Basis

Even if you don’t have a show or political debate to watch, reporters can still list their GetGlue accounts in the paper or on the website. Think of it as a virtual way to get together and share a cup of coffee with a potential source.

Through reading a reporter’s thoughts on the latest episode of “Glee,” a reader could feel closer to that reporter. Instead of thinking of the reporter in a negative light, the reader might remember discussing “Glee” highlights together on GetGlue. The next time that reader has a news tip or story idea, you could be the first reporter they think of to call or email.

Still Have Doubts?

You might be thinking why should you use GetGlue instead of Twitter. The main benefit GetGlue has over Twitter is that it’s easier to follow conversations. Let’s say you want to talk about  the show “Once Upon A Time.” Just click on that title in GetGlue and automatically, you’ll get a list of what GetGlue members are saying about it. No need for a hashtag or a third-party app.

If you are missing your favorite social network, you can connect your GetGlue profile with Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare.

GetGlue isn’t perfect and it may not be right for every newsroom or every type of event. It might lend itself more towards soft news and features as opposed to breaking news. And of course, it is still necessary to verify sources and comments found via the social network.

We’re going to be hearing a lot about social TV in the next few years, however, and it wouldn’t hurt newsrooms to innovate and at least consider ways to use this platform to their benefit.

What do you think about using GetGlue in a newsroom-setting? Would it sink or swim? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter.