Tonight I tested out the new Netflix Party option hustled out to fulfill the needs of the current COVID-19 pandemic’s sudden invocation of self-quarantine as the United States tries desperately to avoid rampant infections.
A friend asked on facebook this week who would be interested in some type of movie night online and I sent him the link to an article about this new feature. Soon he had an open invite in a facebook chat to those who had volunteered as participants to try it out. It all happened fast! He asked for nominations: we got “Space Jam,” “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” and “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse.”
Monty Python won the poll. We set plans to download the NP extension on Google Chrome and log-in by 8 p.m. tonight to commence the movie. We also got a link in facebook chat to log-in. It only took maybe 5 minutes to set up.
After a day of hustling to get my news story done for my editor about the local impact of the pandemic on a local public school district, picking up my prescription and getting my bank password fixed, I was ready to relax. It is my day off, thankfully.
It was innovative and a great time. I would recommend this to anyone feeling lonely and deprived of social interaction. It’s not the same as being in the same room with your pals, but it mimics the nostalgia of hanging out on AOL Instant Messenger for hours back in the day. We all watched the same movie in sync, and there was a chat on the right hand side where we could all comment in real time. You log in on your Netflix account via your computer, choose a chat username and avatar. There was some slight buffering delays but otherwise it functioned very well. I got to know better some different friends I don’t normally see much, and focusing on the words without facial expressions was interesting too. It really made everyone’s sense of humor easy to decipher– we all had a blast.
One confusing element is that anyone can hit the “play” function or pause it– I unwittingly did this at first, just trying to figure out how to make it work. The “admin” (person who organized the party) called me out and I apologized, laughing. Two different times, my movie got stuck and I had to start over and log out. But I had also been using facebook simultaneously, which I think over-loaded it somehow.
Once I closed my facebook window and only had Netflix Party open, the movie was easy.
The conversation meandered all over and most of us were familiar and quoting our favorite parts– others were just asking funny questions and making typical observations. This is working.
Whoever brainstormed this over at Netflix deserves a hella RAISE! Thank you.
To those who thumb their nose at social networking– this is proof that it’s important.
It definitely made my first Friday night in self-quarantine during this hysteria fun.
I will absolutely be doing this with more friends, especially the friends I used to go see movies with a lot! I feel it will become a staple in relationships in dating as well, as we all scramble to acclimate to these new rules of social distancing.
People are getting heated about it online, arguing for or against obeying the national mandates to stay home and be as sanitized as possible. People are either adamantly following the rules, or adamantly insisting on not breaking their routine and continuing to get together in-person.
At this point, President Trump has announced that we should not gather over groups of 10, even in our homes. That’s is the national state of emergency it’s come to. Forty million Californians are ordered to stay home “indefinitely” and only venture out for essential work travel, errands and exercise, declared by Gov. Gavin Newsome on Thursday.
And today, Illinois is close behind, as Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued the stay-at-home order, active tomorrow night at 5 p.m. until April 7.
I’ve never been more happy that I moved to Kansas.
Now I’m exhausted and work my retail job tomorrow morning. Time for bed!