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TV as social media

posted by Jason Kottke   May 14, 2010

Although you might think otherwise, people tend to watch TV live, even when recording shows for later viewing on DVRs is an option. The pull of communal activity for the human social animal is strong.

Like all social activities, television-watching demands compromise. People may have strong ideas about what they want to watch, but what they really want to do is watch together. So the great majority of them first see “what is on” — that is, what is being broadcast at that moment. Restricted choice makes it easier to agree on what to watch. If nothing appeals, they move on to the programmes stored in a DVR. On the very rare occasions when they find nothing there, they will look for an on-demand video.