This is a blog post about Untappd. If Untappd makes you angry at them young’uns in the pub with their phones and their Pac-Man video games, this blog post may only serve to raise your blood pressure, so you may want to leave.
Since London Beer City started, I haven’t really logged that many beers onto Untappd, and I’ve had a lot of new beers in the past few weeks. Normally the ‘newness’ is the key motivation for me to check something, not necessarily in a ticking instinct, but so that I have some record of when I first tried it, how strong it was or which batch it was for future reference.
Lately, I just don’t have the energy for Untappd. I got into it only a couple of years ago, having seen others use it and enjoy it. The badges, the social network aspect, the toasts, it all seemed fun, and simply anyone who was anyone was using it, so I gave it a go. Like many forms of social media, it’s addictive. Not just because it merges so neatly with one of my main pastimes, but also because it’s so easy. It becomes a ritual. We see each other all reaching for our phones as we return to a table with our new beers. I don’t have any beef with people using Untappd in pubs, nor do I have any problem with social media becoming part of the way that we enjoy and discuss beer. Still, I simply don’t enjoy using Untappd anymore.
There’s no such thing as ‘casual’ Untappd use, or rather, there’s no point to dabbling in it. You either check in every new beer you have, or why bother using it? The idea is to contribute to a global social network of beer lovers sharing and commenting on each other’s beers. I like the social aspect of it, but Twitter already fulfills that function.
Just over a week ago, I saw this tweet from all-round nice guy and lovely beer person, David Bishop:
despite appearances, David is a shrewd chap and has a healthy attitude to beer geekery. That and his other tweets on the subject very much mirrored my own feelings. It provided the necessary prompt in my mind to really think about it again. What do I get from Untappd? I tweet about beer without its help, can share photos of beers I’m enjoying without its help, keep notes about beers I’ve had without its help.
The useful functions: the searchable archive of beers I’ve had for the first time and when; and the ability to see where beers are being enjoyed near me (which has helped me when visiting a new area a couple of times), are just that – useful, but not essential to my experience of beer. If anything, it causes me more annoyance than satisfaction on average. The Android app is clunky, and frequently crashes when uploading photos, despite several updates.
I’m not sure what I want a beer app to be, or even if I want a replacement for Untappd. I’m certain that, once I delete it from my phone, I’ll experience some cravings. I’ll get my fix other ways, through Instagram,
making little felt badges to stick on my Craft Sash at home, Twitter, and so on.
I’m also hoping that, as a side effect, instead of logging every new beer with a few choice flavour descriptors, quitting Untappd will encourage me to actually write about the beers worth writing about.
Is Untappd still doing it for you, or is it something that was fun for a few summers and now needs to go in the loft?