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Netflix Kills Discussions

A new season of House of Cards was just released, youre waiting until midnight to stream it from Netflix. Giddy with excitement you binge through the first three episodes before passing out after a long day. The next morning you cant wait to talk about it with Bob at work. This shift is terribly boring and the only thing that helps pass the time is discussing the latest TV shows. But last night Bob stayed up and watched 5 episodes. Since hes further along and you hate spoilers, you cant talk to him about your hypotheses. And neither can you talk with Mandy because she only watched the first episode. Shes too far behind, everything she knows is old news.

This is the future of on-demand content if we continue down the Netflix path of releasing entire seasons of TV shows at once. The advantage of having full control is mixed with isolation. Previously what would be a community experience is now solitary: you watch the episodes you want on your schedule.

Kevin Spacey believes bingeing is the future:

Clearly the success of the Netflix model, releasing the entire season of House of Cards at once, proved one thing: The audience wants the control. They want the freedom. If they want to binge as theyve been doing on House of Cards and lots of other shows, we should let them binge. I cant tell you how many people have stopped me on the street and said, Thank you, you sucked three days out of my life.

One of the advantages of running a discussion platform is being able to see what people are talking about. On XERQ we had a large Game of Thrones Thread with almost 2,000 posts. After every episode, users whove read the books would provide incredibly detailed synopses of what happened and explain how the show was diverging from, but at the same time keeping true with, the book.

Another example is the large Breaking Bad Thread with over 2,000 posts. Similar discussions, people would chat during the episode (which was great if you were on the East Coast, but West Coast / Best Coast knew not to check the thread until after watching it). People would talk about the minute details, the cinematography and the thoughts given to color palettes. Arguing over the main characters' intentions and where the show was heading were very common, and within the debates were tremendous insights into the brilliance of the writing, and made us all relish each moment of the final episodes.

An example outside of an episodic series is the Super Bowl thread last year being over 3,000 posts long. The moment the power went out and the stadium went dark, a flood of messages came in eventually resulting in memes Poverty Stadium of Poverty and other shenanigans. If someone DVR'ed the game and met up with friends after who just saw it, theyd either miss out on the conversation or the spoilers would ruin their experience.

The Netflix Original House of Cards Thread was only 132 posts long. A deep, well-written show with an incredible cast wasnt getting talked about on XERQ. The same demographic loved Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad, but why not House of Cards? The season had an incredible story arc, and was based off a British version, so there was plenty to discuss.

Another Netflix Original, the Orange is the New Black Thread surely faired better, at just 165 posts.

Meaningful discussions improve our lives, binge watching diminishes it. This is a quote from Moonwalking With Einstein by a French chronobiologist named Michael Siffre:

Very quickly Siffres memory deteriorated Since there was nobody to talk to, and not much to do, there was nothing novel to impress upon his memory. There were no chronological landmarks by which he could measure the passage of time When his support team on the surface finally called down to him on September 14th, the day his experiment was scheduled to wrap up, it was only August 20th in his journal. He thought only a month had gone by. His experience of times passage had compressed by a factor of two.

Monotony collapses time. Novelty unfolds it. You can exercise daily and eat healthy and live a long life while experiencing a short one. If you spend your life sitting in a cubicle and passing papers, one day is bound to blend unmemorably into the nextand disappear. Thats why its important tohave as many new experiences as possible Creating new memories stretches out psychological time, and lengthens our perceptions of our lives.

How do you want to spend your life?

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