Instant Disgratification

The trouble with, and cure for, streaming indecision.

By Beth Meroski

I’m fickle about my media consumption. It takes me approximately an eternity to find something to watch on Netflix, and even then I’m rarely pleased with my choice. The visual aid above depicts my normal Netflix experience.

Netflix is great, but it’s navigating through Netflix that becomes daunting. Sure it may know I like “Classic Cerebral Movies Based on Classic Literature”, but what if I want to branch out? The only thing to do in this situation is ask my friends. But how do I know which friends to trust for a good recommendation? Facebook profiling.

I hate complimenting or even bringing up Facebook, but the films and TV programs a person chooses to list in their profile can provide a great deal of insight into their taste level and thus I can decide the strength of  their recommendation. As I see it, there are four kinds of what I’m going to call “Facebook Interest Curators*,” with varying degrees of recommendation-trustworthiness.

*to be taken with a grain of salt

Facebook Interest Curator#1: Meticulous and Thoughtful Buff

Trademarks:  Interests may be alphabetized or categorized by genre, movie section will contain at least 10 of AFI’s Top 100 Films of All Time, 98% chance of Citizen Kane

Pitfalls:  Probably a snob (but that doesn’t mean they don’t have wonderful taste)

Verdict: Recommendation can be trusted

Facebook Interest Curator#2: Lazy Person

Trademarks: Crazy heltzer-skelter of decent to okay to crappy movies and tv shows, sloppily mixed with not-actually-the-title “Likes” (ex: “Four for you Glen Coco! You go Glen Coco !!” is listed in “movies” section. Yes, it is from a (really good) movie. No, it is not the title of a movie (I think I’m outing myself as a #1).

Pitfalls: Moderate to bad taste in movies and television programs OR there’s a chance they don’t put any thought into their Facebook profile but have perfectly sound taste…

Verdict: Don’t risk it – Recommendation can rarely be trusted

Facebook Interest Curator#3: Uber Lazy Person Who is Just Too Cool for School

Trademarks:  May have anywhere from zero to three interests listed. Too cool to use facebook much at at all, too busy watching Fellini movies and  episodes of The Wire.

Pitfalls: Might not shower, don’t go to the movies with this person

Verdict: Recommendation can usually be trusted

Facebook Interest Curator #4: Waste of Human Space

Trademarks: Movie interests include White Chicks and/or The Son of the Mask

Pitfalls: Movie interests include White Chicks and/or The Son of the Mask

Verdict: Never trust their recommendation

The source of the recommendation is key, because every time you view something at another person’s behest you are putting your life in their hands.  That seems like an overstatement. Let me explain. Here are some examples of the life-altering-ability of recommendations.

Trusted Recommendee #1: You should see Iron Man, it’s so much smarter than your run-of-the-mill superhero flick.

Result of viewing Iron Man: I ADORE ROBERT DOWNEY JR. I will now watch every film he has ever made.

Trusted Recommendee #2: I think you’d really like Doctor Who.

Three weeks later, after burning through 5+ seasons of Doctor Who: I ADORE DOCTOR WHO. I need to buy the box sets. I want to listen to the audio commentaries of every episode. I will see that shitty Fright Night movie just for David Tennant. I want to move to Wales and work at BBC Cardiff where Doctor Who is produced.*

*True story.

Because the media you interact with is potentially life-changing, thought must go in to any viewing of anything. A single episode of a TV program has the ability to change someone’s life, so you better be sure you’re getting good recommendations. Always be choosy about the media consume, because even if you live to be 80 that only gives you 65-70 good years of movie/tv show watching.

Beth likes to watch and help make TV. You can follow her on twitter here.

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