Social media meets movies in the film discovery app Letterboxd, the essential platform for film creators and consumers alike.
Letterboxd was founded in 2011, but has seen rapid growth in the last few years with an inherent sense of community among its users. User registration increased from around 2 million in 2020 to over 10 million today, according to the New York Times. Users can log and review movies, see what their friends are watching, create lists of movies and more.
"It's very simple and straightforward," said Kiara Agrawal, a sophomore studying film and media production. "It’s so uncomplicated and that's what I like about it."
The interface in particular has been renowned for its shareability and ease of use. But for many users, Letterboxd has evolved into much more than just a way to track their film history.
"At first it looked like it was just a place to review movies," said Letterboxd user Aaron Hudson. "But then I realized it was actually … more of a social media just designated for people who watch movies."
Hudson programs and hosts a weekly series of horror films at the Majestic Cinemas called Cinematery and uses Letterboxd to connect with this community of viewers.
"I'm on Letterboxd more than any other social media," said Amaiya Scott, a senior studying film who initially found Cinematery through Letterboxd. "It's cool having a mini community like that because they're posting about stuff they're doing."
Because of this specificity, bringing users online because of their passion for movies, Letterboxd has truly become a means of connecting with the community, especially at ASU.
"It's a great social media platform, especially in the film majors," said Harrison Staley, a junior studying film and media production. "You can see all your friends and all your class buddies that watched a movie and see their opinions on movies."
But it's hard to compete for the attention of users who are already using a multitude of all-encompassing social media platforms like Instagram, TikTok and X, formerly known as Twitter.
"It's not (a platform) that I'm going to be on for hours and hours like I would with TikTok," Staley said. "I see what movies my friends watch, I see if there's any cool new ones that came out, and that's about it."
There aren't many similar apps competing with Letterboxd's spotlight, either. Rate Your Music is used by some music fans, and Goodreads is popular in reading communities, but neither has found the mainstream social appeal that Letterboxd has.
Similar to the inescapable Spotify Wrapped, Letterboxd created a 2023 Year in Review that generated noticeable traffic as well as excitement within the community.
For those looking to find a career in film, Letterboxd can also be a useful tool in networking with peers, sometimes directly leading to opportunities in the industry.
"I have a friend who's getting to write his first booklet for what's called a boutique label release for a movie," Hudson said. "And that came about because of his reputation on Letterboxd."
But for now, the app is still growing as it finds its place in the ever-changing landscape that is social media. With plans to expand and include TV shows on the site sometime in 2024, there is still a lot more that Letterboxd can do as it brings together film fans — and it doesn't need to compete with mainstream social media to do so.
"It's just more of a supplement rather than a replacement," Hudson said. "It's a fun way to not necessarily be texting every day with someone and still be able to keep up with what they're watching."
Edited by Sophia Braccio, Alysa Horton and Caera Learmonth.