Saturday, December 30, 2006

Hacking Hacking Netflix

Since starting her own blog, Betty has become intrigued by that desktop underground known as the "blogosphere" (though she prefers to call it the "blogalaxy"). In a writing class two years ago, Betty wrote a piece on the word "blog", comparng it to the word "blob", which is what a dedicated blogger may necessarily bloat into, and "blah blah blah", which is all blogs represented to her tired, beseiged eyes. But no longer!

In her latest blogspolrations Betty has discovered blogs that may serve as a truly independent alternate media, run by bloggers who are committed, alert, and as rigorous in their craft as any true artist or civil servant. While most of these exemplary blogs tend to be about one subject, the best of these turn that subject into a world, and expose the infinite variations, threads, and relationships that govern and sustain it. They show you how to look at their singular obsession - whatever it may be - anew, and they do it a way that connects this obsession to the wider world of the non-obsessed.

Because Betty is obsessed with Netflix, it's no wonder she was initially drawn to Hacking Netflix, a blog run by an ardent Netflix fan that has turned into a community affair. This site has taught Betty much more than just the other meaning of "to hack" (which is "to know everything about").

Hacking Netflix is as attractive and easy to navigate as its spiritual predecessor, and its moderator poses thoughtful questions to the readers, often while simultaneously bringing other Netflix-inspired issues and topics to their attention (e.g. the meaning of "ontology", the ethics of DVD burning, and updates on competing technologies and services, whether emerging or still theoretical). He and his interactions with his readers show that Netflix and our relationship to it reflects much more than just our taste in movies. In our relationship with Netflix may be contained our view of community, society, capitalism, the role of art, and our ideas of work and play. I would love to see them tackle more about what drives Netflix obsession, adoration, even love. Is it those big red envelopes packed just for you by a stranger?

While the reader comments can sometimes be inane and reactive and the moderator is at times infuriatingly neutral on the politics and ethics of business deals, the site couldn't be more fascinating or fun to read and to ponder.If you are a devotee or even just a follower of the Netflix revolution (five million members and $300 million in postage strong), this site will suck you in. Add it to your queue; make it a friend.

[Photo courtesy of dubsyuhs]

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