Netflix & the ‘Tinderization’ of Feeling

Tom Vanderbilt: “Netflix, as you may have heard, is … shedding its former one-to-five-star rating system in favor of binary digits: namely, thumbs up or thumbs down … For one, Netflix was transitioning from a DVD rental business to a streaming company. It was less reliant on you telling it what you liked (via ratings), because it could already tell what you liked — simply by analyzing what you had watched.”

“And there tended to be a gulf between the two behaviors. People rated aspirationally, but they watched situationally. Yes, you did give That Important Documentary five stars when you got around to watching it, but at the end of a trying day at the office, you more often settled on viewing some pleasing pap like The Ridiculous 6 … Another reason for Netflix’s shift from stars to thumbs is that … even when people are given star-rating options, the responses, as research has shown, tend to cluster in the one-star and five-star endpoints — serving as a de facto thumbs up or down.”

“The Netflix move seems another example of what Alicia Eler and Eve Peyser, in an essay in The New Inquiry, call ‘the tinderization of feeling.’ The dating app Tinder, they argue, ‘is a metaphor for speeding up and mechanizing decision making, turning us into binary creatures who can bypass underlying questions and emotions and instead go with whatever feels really good in the moment.’ In a world of vastly proliferating consumer choice, it is small wonder we should turn to the quickest, most primitive gestures to express judgments.”

Tim Manners/Brand X Ventures | Apr 4th, 2017 | , , , , ,