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Is Netflix’s "House of Cards" Anti-Social Television?

The New York Times’ Brian Selter asks if Netflix’s 13-episode, all-you-can eat season of TV challenges social sharing.

Netflix’s second original series, House of Cards, launched with a full season of shows last Friday. (I’ve already ripped through 12 of the 13 episodes.) No doubt, Netflix modeled the show after our own binge TV compulsion. But will that come at a cost of talking about the show? The New York Times explores this topic:

Dave Winer, the Internet pioneer who helped give birth to blogging in the late 1990s, restarted his Netflix subscription so he could watch the series, and immediately noticed the drawback to the all-at-once approach.

'I don’t want spoilers, and I don’t want to be a spoiler,' he wrote in a blog post on Sunday. 'We need to invent new communication systems, where only people who have made it through Episode X can discuss with others who have made it exactly that far.'

One of Netflix’s biggest drawbacks is that it features so little social media integration already (compare it to the latest wave of Facebook-reliant streaming services like Rdio and Spotify). With House of Cards, Netflix is actually doubling down on the hermit model.

Read more here.

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  • Honest_Miss

    Frankly, it's pretty nice to experience something that is personal, and not so focused on 'sharing' everything. Netflix feels like a singular experience in a /good/ way.

    So many complaints that people aren't experiencing enough 'me' time in their lives, but then we ask for shareability in everything we do. It's just /nice/ to have something that lacks that.

    But speaking in terms of the show, I would say the immediate release hurts it not because of a lack of shareability, but because of a lack of hype and longtime build-up of curiosity. More traditional releases come with a week long wait until you can find out what's next. If the show is good, that week can be like torture. You /want/ to know what's coming up next, and by the time that new episode rolls around, you're all over it. Hype and curiosity are the primary drivers for a show, at least in my experience.

    In fact, a lot of websites are /removing/ things like comments from their posts and content because the comments aren't usually discussion so much as they are arguments. They don't move anything forward. (I don't necessarily agree that this is a good trend, but that doesn't change the fact that it's rolling in.)

  • Garyr

    Same problem the push for apps that allow group reading of books where people can share their thoughts. There are two methods being used currently: 1) open discussion tied to the book (usually only your circle of friends) or 2) comments tied to a place in the eBook much like annotating a PDF. 
    The issue is a issue for any time shows are strung together, even a series like Mad Men or Breaking Bad. As a person works their way through the series, how to limit the view of comments and feedback to not include anything in the future of the spot an individual is at.

  • Ericson Smith

    Watching, nay, digesting TV and movies is inherently a lonely thing. Most everyone will admit that when you go to a movie alone, or watch something like House of Cards alone, you tend to understand it better, relish it more and enjoy the experience of it.

    Hermitting is perfect for watching TV.

  • Fabian Galon

    Eeh, I wouldn't state that as a fact. Different experiences are valuable to different people.

  • Ptr

     Very true. Family night movies are cherished and all but the best movies I've seen and the TV I enjoy the most is alone. You aren't thinking about what the other person's thinking about and obviously you can go at your own pace.

  • J_scheller

    It's actually Netflix's second original series. The first being, Lilyhammer.

  • Orchadia McLean

    Lilyhammer wasn't originally produced by Netflix thought. It was distributed by them, it was actually a show that ran in Norway first. Netflix picked it up and then helped to produce the second season. Kind of like Arrested Development.