OK, so it looks like Netflix has finally taken the leap into a Facebook relationship, integrating the popular social media network into its basic framework. Netflix unveiled the partnership with Facebook on Wednesday morning allowing eager streaming movie-watchers to integrate Facebook into their Netflix account today, while all other U.S. subscribers should have the capability to share their movie choices to their hearts delight by Friday.
Of course we've known the merger was on its way for a little while now, as back in December we heard that social sharing was a part of Netflix's future plan and once the Video Privacy Protection Act was updated.
So what will the new Netflix look and operate like? It's basically like the old Netflix except for now there will be "social" rows added via an association with your Facebook account.
The Facebook integration lets me, as a Netflix member, see what my friends have been watching with new "Friends' Favorites" and "Watched by Your Friends" rows. Rows can also get specific, highlighting what only one particular friend may be watching or I can look at what all my friends have watched recently.
Sharing of what you have watched happens automatically for those signed up for the Netflix Facebook integration, but thankfully, you can choose not to share a watched item, if you prefer, by simply clicking the "don't share this" button that pops up at the bottom right of your Netflix movie screen when the video launches. Yeah, so I guess your buddies don't have to know you spend your Friday nights watching old Meg Ryan flicks.
Now you can take the sharing to the max by enabling social sharing not only within Netflix but to Facebook as well. So, your friends there can see what you've been watching lately there as well.
At this point I don't exactly know how I feel about the whole social sharing aspect of Netflix. I mean granted it's nice to get suggestions for friends, and perhaps this is me being old fashioned, but it seems to me, it just takes away one more thing for us to talk about when we get together. I don't know, maybe not, but something about all this social sharing makes me almost terminally weary. Still Facebook's integration into Netflix is a feature apparently many have requested as it's already been made available in other international regions. I suppose it was only a matter of time before it made its way to us here in the United States.
"There are few better ways to find a movie or TV series you'll love than hearing about it from your friends," said Tom Willerer, VP of product innovation at Netflix.
I suppose he's right, but I guess I want to hear about it from my friends, instead of assaulted by it on my social media network.
If you thought your Facebook feed was already too full of cliché picture messages, and friends' products "likes," congratulations, now you get to see every single time their kid watches "Strawberry Shortcake" or know when they've watched the 12,000th episode of "Jersey Shore." It just seems to add so much more information while giving us so much less to say.
But here's to greater connectivity through Netflix and Facebook. Another way the Internet is helping us learn way too much about one another without saying anything at all.