Streaming video philanthropists of the world: your generosity streak is probably coming to a close. Starting today, Netflix goes social: everything you watch can be beamed to Facebook. So it's time to cut off all your mooching friends
It's been a great run. Netflix doesn't enforce any kind of login limits, so your tightwad mom, boyfriend, and neighbor can all enjoy the benefits of the Netflix library along with you. Is it pathetic to mooch off of someone else when you could just spend $8 per month yourself? Unless you're sleeping beneath a tree and streaming movies in a public library, then yes, it's probably unnecessary to feed off my account. But we do it for each other—it's the 21st century "Can you lend me a basket of sugar?" or whatever people used to say during the Great Depression.
It's easy altruism. But the free ride of good vibes and cornucopian 30 Rock episodes might be coming to an end. Soon, we're going to have to battle our vanity against our generosity, and the latter rarely wins.
Think: do you really want your friends and family's questionable viewing habits mixed in (and mistaken for) yours? No. You don't.
As much as we might roll our eyes and scrunch our noses and yak at the thought of social sharing, anecdotally, a lot of us seem to like it! Before Facebook nuked the news ticker, it was stuffed with Spotify tracks. Many moaned when they first saw Timberlake and Adele swarm the usual ticks of personal statuses and photo albums, but it soon became the norm. It was even sort of fun! With a couple of clicks we can listen along with our friends, and knowing that they know what we're listening to makes the internet just a little bit less lonely.
Sure, you could just turn off the new social side of Netflix, but sharing is fun. And it makes us feel a little bit more important. When you know people are watching, when you know you have their attention, the modern brain feels good. It's why we tweet, update Foursquare, and Instagram. Affirmation. We like to not-so-subtly put our musical taste on display, and soon Netflix will provide the video component in the AV Facebook ego festival.
But we don't share Spotify passwords like we do Netflix; Spotify doesn't let two people log into the same account at once. The music that you broadcast is verifiably yours. Can you imagine if all the shitty music your friends like were confused for your own taste? That's the future of Netflix, if you're sharing your account.
So you can continue to whore out your Netflix account for a cheap favor. You can be a video populist. Or you can bask in Facebook attention at the risk of looking like a person who watches How I Met Your Mother and The Lorax. An idiot. Hell is the taste in media of others, and it's a flamescape most of us will probably avoid at the cost of selfishness. So get ready, moochers—a lot of you are probably going to have to scrounge up that $8 every month, somehow. I believe in you.