Monday, August 30, 2010

Friends without Netflix

Do you have any friends who still haven't tried Netflix? I was astonished to learn that my nurse at the doctor's office still hasn't signed up. I will not rest until she does.

I think it might be ignorance. I have to explain to them how it works. It helps if I show them the envelope, because it's hard for folks to imagine how easy it is. They think they have to get a stamp and address the envelope and buy envelopes, and all that old-school stuff. Even when I tell them it's postage-paid both ways, they are skeptical. They think there's a catch.

I also think it's hard work for some people to find stuff to watch. With TV, it's passive. You watch whatever is on, or you hit one button on the remote. Netflix requires a bit of thought and more effort than switching on the TV. You have to go online, look at pictures, and click a button. If you're really ambitious, you read the description and reviews.

Even with Roku, you have to decide what to watch. The TV doesn't decide for you. People can be paralyzed by choice. Well, Netflix solves that problem by suggesting movies. All you have to do is rate movies. Is that so hard?

I look at some of my Netflix Friends, and I'm frustrated at how few movies they've rated. Or maybe they really haven't seen that many. They must be the people with the social lives and beautiful lawns.


  1. I just cancelled my dad's Netflix account. When I logged in I saw that he had discs for over a year (just by a few days) and that his CC was expired. Clearly, it's just not for everyone. :)

  2. I learned about Netflix from a coworker over 5 years ago and I've had it ever since. I am no longer on that job, so as of now none of the people that my husband and I are surrounded by have tried Netflix. Seriously. No one at work, church, or other friends and neighbors.

    For most of the people we know, I think the fear of being locked into something keeps them from trying Netflix. They don't want to pay a monthly fee when they don't even know how often they are going to watch movies. I, on the other hand, live in a semi-rural area and I don't drive. This means that once I come home from work, I'm in for the night. On weekends I don't go anywhere. For me, the convenience of having movies arrive on my doorstep is totally worth it, even if I keep some of them for a while before watching.

  3. Hey Becky, I just came across this post via a Google search for [netflix friends]. The question I'm trying to answer is, "Did they just take Netflix Friends away?" I'm not seeing it in the footer links anymore.

    I hope it's not gone for good, because I've been doing those 200-character (I think they started out as 150-character) Netflix Notes for over 5 years now, and I'd miss doing 'em. I could still do them on my own, posted to my Facebook account via Facebook Connect, but the 200-character limit wouldn't be there, and I think that enforced brevity leads often to better writing, as you have to get to the heart of what you mean quickly. (Unlike, I suppose, this comment.)

    Anyway...what's the story?

  4. Ah, just called and found out: It's been turned off effective September 1. What a bummer. Apparently it wasn't well publicized, but I did find a post about it here: .

    I'm glad I saved all those Netflix Note reviews, over 300 at this point! It is, however, an object lesson in the nature of social media that's hosted by a 3rd party: You can't count on that 3rd party to be a repository for your content, because they could just turn it off at any point, and they probably don't offer a tool to backup or otherwise archive all the content you've created. Think Facebook. Or, uh, Blogspot.

    Maybe that's just an existential truth about the nature of social media ("Don't get too attached to what you create, as it can all be taken away quickly"), or maybe it's just a cautionary tale to anyone who values what they're posting: If you think what you're creating has any value, even sentimental value to yourself, back it up somewhere!

  5. You're right, Nato. We don't really control anything we put on the Web.

  6. ive had this service for three months and i must say im dissapointed...ive been looking at the same selection every time i turn it on. they dont even list westerns as a genre, which is mindless. they say they have 20000 movies,and ive been looking at the same selection with little change over the months..and what ? thats all the horror movies..if things dont change im going back to my tv and dvds that covers most of whats on netflix...dissapointed in toronto