My Untappd Code of Ethics

December 27,2011 by 38 Comments

Untappd beer drinking smartphone app
Well, I’ve finally moved out of the Stone Age. I got a smartphone.

For being a pretty tech-savvy guy, it’s surprising that it took me this long to ditch the mini-fridge. I wish I did it sooner because this Galaxy Nexus is sweeeet.

Now that I can get in on the app craze, it’s time I start using Untappd. Ok I’ve actually been a member of Untappd for a year, but if you thought I only drank 80 beers in a year, then, well keep thinking that ; )

I used it on and off via the website, but after a late night out I never cared to log in and check-in my beers from my computer.

So armed with a smartphone, I’ll now enter the community of regular users. But first, a code of ethics. Why you ask? Because I’ve witnessed certain behaviors on Untappd and would always think to myself “No way I would do that.”

This is getting those thoughts into writing, so here we go:

My Untappd Code of Ethics

  1. Untappd is not a competition for me. I don’t care how much beer other people drink and have no desire to “beat them” at drinking. Some people brag about how many check-ins they have. I say get a life and hit the gym. I use Untappd primarily for tracking my own beers. The social aspect is fun, but it’s secondary. I really just want to remember what beers I’ve tried.

  2. I will not let Untappd make me a jerk in social situations. If I am in the middle of a conversation, I will not check-in beers or check my feed. Live in the moment, not through technology. This one really applies to smartphone use in general.

  3. 2 ounces are the minimum for a check-in. This basically means that a sip is not a check-in. 2 ounces are a common serving size for tasters and enough to experience a beer. A lot of people say tasters shouldn’t count and only a full beer should. To them I say “I don’t care what you think” and “Go look at rule #1.”

  4. I will not cheat, because that’s just stupid.

  5. I will not share my check-ins on social networks unless I add value. I’m not going to blast every single beer I drink to Facebook and Twitter. I’ll only post beers if it’s something I think people might be interested in, in which case I’ll add context in the form of a comment and/or picture.

There it is.

I don’t expect people to adopt the same code. This is for me and me alone.

I am curious though about what you think. Do you agree or disagree with any? Do you have ones I left out? Let’s hear from you Untappd users.

By the way, here’s my Untappd profile. Be my friend?

About Billy Broas

He is the founder of The Homebrew Academy, a BJCP beer judge, and the homebrewing expert on the Rocky Mountain PBS television show Colorado Brews. He lives in the fine beer town of Denver, Colorado.

38 responses to “My Untappd Code of Ethics”

  1. Great write up Billy. I don’t get why some people think of it as a competition. I don’t go out to try to get certain badges or anything. I use it just like you said, to track my own beers.

    • Billy Broas says:

      Yea it’s really about tracking. I’ve tried all sorts of things – notebooks, Evernote, Word documents. So far this is the best, and who knows, I may move on to something else eventually.

  2. Jason says:

    Well said Billy. I hope everyone can just enjoy using untapped and not corrupt a really cool social networking tool for those of us that enjoy beer.

    • Billy Broas says:

      Yea that’s always the problem with these social tools. It’s just like twitter. Every week more and more pretty ladies send me links to things that I’m sure will fry my computer. So far Untappd seems relatively clean. Let’s hope it stays that way.

  3. Sean says:

    OK – no mention of badges?

    Come on Billy, we know that you want to earn badges :)

  4. Sheppy says:

    I’m a new untappd user. You and I are actually already friends, but you have hundreds so you have probably never really noticed my check-ins. I have far fewer untappd friends.

    For the most part, I agree with your code of conduct. I guess I’ve never noticed anyone bragging about their number of check-ins or treating the whole thing as a competition. I wonder if the fact that I can’t spot “that guy” makes me “that guy”. I do get some sort of weird sense of pride to earn a badge. I feel childish getting that little sense of accomplishment, but as a middle-aged father, it is such a rare opportunity I have to do childish things, I don’t let it bother me too much.

    As you say, #2 isn’t an uptappd-specific thing. It drives me crazy when in the middle of any conversation, someone checks a text they just got … let alone does something like facebooking or untappding or anything like that.

    I also check-in samplers and would never check-in a sip. I have not been an untappd user through GABF, but I think I may check-in new beers I try at GABF (1 oz pour) because it is a vehicle to keep track what I try and how I like it. I’ve tried to keep track other ways at GABF and ended up failing, so it is worth a try. I guess I would not criticize anyone for checking in whatever they want.

    You are right, cheating is stupid. I’m not sure why you would want to. You don’t really “win” anything, so I’m not sure I see a point to it.

    I actually post most of my check-ins to twitter and only a select few to facebook. As you, Billy, are somewhat of a celebrity because of your beer-blog and beer-brewing website, I would think people following you on facebook and twitter would be interested in what you drink. Me, not really so much, so maybe i should be more selective on what I tweet from untappd.

    • Billy Broas says:

      Sorry I choked on my beer a little bit at the beer celebrity part. That’s a good one Sheppy.

      I remember your post a few weeks ago about getting into Untappd. That was a good read. It made me excited to get my smartphone shortly after.

      For the most part I’ve found most people being cool and non-competitive with Untappd. There have been a few situations where I’ve seen people get really too into it, and those always stand out the most. The posting on Twitter and FB don’t bother me THAT much. I just think what if everyone posted every beer they ever drank – Jesus.

      Thanks for the comment and I’ll see you around “The Pub”.

  5. Mike says:

    I like your “Code”, it just makes sense. Thanks for saying what all the regular (and ethical) Untappd users are thinking.

    Here’s something you may want to add into #3 on your list:
    – When I open up a bomber or 750ml bottle, and drink it in 2 or 3 pours, I only check-in to that beer ONCE. That’s my personal policy, but others may check in for the number glasses they poured to finish the entire bottle.

    Just another end of the spectrum on that one, that’s all.

    Drink beer and enjoy!

    • Billy Broas says:

      I’m glad you brought that up. I totally agree. Even if I pour multiple pints from the same bottle then I will still count it as one check in. You’re right though, people can do what they want. Hell, if someone wanted to count every 6 oz as a check-in then they could do it. I like the “single package” rule though. What do you think about growlers?

      • Richard Drawdy says:

        IMO it’s each serving you consume, in the instance of taster glasses under 6oz that is fine too it’s all about logging your tastes and getting to see what other people think about those same beers and get a look at what your friends are tasting. Really fun app, i love it. I probably need to adhere to number 2 a little better…..

  6. Blake says:

    I pretty much follow your rules exactly. I won’t cheat to get a badge, I won’t check in when I’m at dinner, but will afterwards if I remember all the beers I had ;). Also, I tend to stick to the taster minimum, but sometimes with a rare beer if I get a little less, I’m not going to fuss and not check in. But like you said, I use it to track my beers. I don’t care if people have more checkins or badges, it’s just for me to use and while I appreciate the social aspect of it, I’m not going to compete with anyone.

    • Billy Broas says:

      Yea there is some leeway with the tasters. For example, when I was pouring Utopias at a rare beer tasting we were only allowed to pour one ounce of it. I would definitely check that in if I were them.

  7. adam says:

    i adhere to pretty much the same rules when using untappd. i will usually post all my beers to twitter, since the only people who will get that are the ones who are stupid/crazy enough to follow me. for facebook, i usually only check in the first beer i have at a particular location, that way it kinda checks me in at a bar so friends can join me if they so choose. otherwise i only send the really good or rare beers to facebook. i’m not one to brag about how many checkins i have, but i am about to reach the 500 unique beers plateau so that i think is a pretty special milestone. its only a friendly contest between my girlfriend and i, but it is purely for fun (and not fair cause i started on untappd before she did haha!) i try to have a new beer anytime there is an opportunity and only check in what i have had a substantial taste of. untappd is a fun way to remember every beer you have had the opportunity to taste!

    • Billy Broas says:

      Good stuff Adam. A competition between you and your girlfriend is an exception to rule #1. That’s a good idea actually…

      Congrats on 500! I’ll get there someday. One thing I haven’t decided on is homebrew check-ins. They can really add up, especially the ones from the kegerator.

      • Sheppy says:

        Oh … I do check in homebrews. I actually even added my “brewery” as a venue and check-in to the “SheppyBrew Brewery”. (just typing that makes me feel like a geek … but I’ve come to terms with being a geek long ago).

        I do usually skip the homebrew check-in if I’ve had the same beer several times in a row or even if I feel like I’ve checked into the same beer a bunch lately (like happens pouring from the keggerator). Actually, checking in the homebrews made me realize that I drink more of them than I ever really thought. If it is about “tracking” then I guess it is a good thing.

        • Billy Broas says:

          I’m the same way with the kegerator. Drinking from the keg isn’t black and white like bottles. Sometimes I do half pours, huge pours, top-off…Keeping track of the whole thing would be a mess, but you’re right it would help you see how fast you’re drinking it (scary).

          I’ll be on the lookout for SheppBrew Brewery on Untappd. People have checked in mine under my name and BillyBrew so I need to see if I can consolidate them. It’s bad for branding ; )

  8. dale says:

    I’ve been using Untappd for almost a year and love it. I check in most of my beers, and all off the new beers that I try. I only check in beers where I’ve had the a full bottle, glass on draught or if I split a bomber. Glad you’re on board. Cheers!

  9. Ian says:

    I completely agree about the fact that it is not a competition, and anyone that thinks it is should get a life. I also agree with the “not being THAT dude, on his phone the whole time” part. Definitely agree about the tasters minimum. But I don’t agree about posting check-ins to Twitter or Facebook. I put any unique check-ins on Twitter every time, almost always with a small comment. I don’t post things that I’ve already had, and I rarely post to FB because most “beer” friends are on Twitter. I also enjoy seeing others post their check-ins on Twitter because I never check the feed on Untappd. Sometimes if I remember someone trying a beer and posting it, it may persuade me to try it. I also like to pursue getting the badges as it usually makes me try new beers etc. I don’t care about the badges related to quantity or locations, but New Brew Thursday gives me a reason to try at least one beer I’ve never had before every week. Either way, Untappd is a great thing for the craft beer community.

    • Billy Broas says:

      Well since you almost always add comments to Twitter that makes a big difference IMO. By “adding value” in #5 I’m not curing cancer, but just a few words shows that you’re thinking about the people you’re following. I think the badges are fun and would put them into the “social aspect” of #1. They are good for making you venture out and try new things. Totally agree with your last sentence.

  10. Forrest says:

    Well Said… I’ll live by it!

  11. Jason Fisher says:

    I’m a newbie to homebrewing and love the blog. This the first time I’ve heard of untapped so I just signed up. Seems like good way to track beers. I’m on my way to the local beer store to try to find something new to add to my list! Thanks.

  12. Parker says:

    Galaxy Nexus FTW!

  13. Paul Juster says:

    I adhere to the code of ethics you have posted! Since joining Untappd, I have seem multiple users checking into beers like Bud, Miller, and Coors all right in a row! Called out one user who said, “Well, I’m not going to drink these beers anymore, so I’m just checking them into since I drank them long ago.” Ummm, that’s not the point! Sure, in the past, I’ve drank several of the mass produced beers, but have only checked in to them if I’ve drank them while being a part of Untappd.
    I use Untappd to keep track of what beers I’ve had or haven’t had!
    Still working the the Beer Bucket List! 19 of 43 drank so far!

    • Billy Broas says:

      That’s a funny comment by that person. I never thought to go back and check in every beer I’ve ever had! That would take a while…

      Nice work with the beer bucket list! You’re way ahead of most people. I’ve still got a bunch to try myself.

  14. Lori Murphy says:

    Our group has been doing “beer school” for about 5 years now & this last year we transitioned to untappd from using written notebooks. These are the rules that we have developed for ourselves.
    1. Friend people you are friends with in real life.
    2. Share check-ins on any social network you wish, however, keep in mind everyone can see that and with many of us in the education field listed as friends, it is not overly encouraged to post to Facebook or Twitter.
    3. The minimum ounces for checking in has generally been discussed as at least 3 ounces, 3 swigs or 2 big gulps.
    4. You are allowed to check into a beer any time on the day that you drank it. Sometimes there is poor internet or data connection in the location of beer tasting & check-ins need to wait till a better signal is available. However, sometimes badges are time sensitive so please have respect for that if at all possible.
    5. Proper social & phone etiquette is encourage when in a live social situation. If you are having a conversation with someone that isn’t an untappd member be patient & check-in to that beer during a break in the conversation.
    6. Our “students” get excited & slightly competitive at times when it comes to earning badges, total # of check-ins leader etc. Please be respectful to others without excessive taunting.

  15. Blatherbeard says:

    Good article and great comments for sure. Im also pretty new to untappd and i love it. I actually like checking in on my new phone because you can do half stars there.

    Agree with all points made for sure.

    Question- What about toasts? Is there an etiquette for them? do you only toast someone thats drinking what youre having? or is it just that you appreciate what that particular person is drinking?

    Cant seem to find that answer.

    • Billy Broas says:

      I don’t think there is an etiquette for toasts. There are some people who seem to toast everything they see and others who toast when it’s an exceptionally good beer. I don’t toast much just because I don’t often monitor the activity feed.

      Thanks for checking out the post!

  16. Dillon says:

    Where does tracking past beers fall into this? I travel a lot and have been taking pictures of labels along the way. Untappd doesn’t seem to really support inputing past beers as they all come across as real-time. But I don’t know of any better options for keeping track either.

    • Billy Broas says:

      Hey Dillon, I don’t think there is anything wrong with adding past beers. Now what I didn’t do when I signed up for the service was go back and try to add every beer I’ve had for the previous 10 years. A good example though is on my recent trip to Germany I didn’t have a good chance to enter them while there so I did it when I got back. I think it’s especially OK if it’s in an effort to follow rule #2.

  17. David says:

    Dillon & Billy Broas,
    I did the same thing when I downloaded Untapped. I just checked in all the beers I’ve ever had, or the ones I could remember. I also like that it has a wish list so you can remember all beer you would like to try. There is another great app for this called Beer Hunt,. It helps you track your beers and it also categorizes them by country and the American beers by state. This is one cool feature not in Untapped.

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