I love Netflix. We had it a few years ago, cancelled it and recently added it again. And honestly, it is just one of my most favorite conveniences that we have. That I have every episode of Arrested Development right at my fingertips is just incredibly awesome.
I also love Netflix because it does a pretty good job of knowing what movies I like. I probably never would have watched Fight Club, except that Netflix told me that I would really love that one. And now it's one of my favorite movies (and one on the short list of movies that I like better than the book). It's pointed me toward a lot of interesting, funny, and bizarre movies and television shows that I might not have checked out on my own. It seems to know me pretty well.
That said, Netflix totally thinks I'm gay. On the front page, the site will automatically create rows of movies for you, based on your preferences. A row that frequently pops up on my front page is "dramas: gay and lesbian." It always makes Jason laugh when he's at work looking for an episode of The X Files and it's suggesting Buffy.
One thing to know about me is that if you're my close friend, I'm going to want to understand you. So if Tina mentions a particular movie or documentary that she thinks is really helpful to understanding the LGBT experience, I'll probably check it out (and most have been really good). Rich told me that his favorite books of all-time were the Dark Tower series, so I have spent the past few months reading through that. Jason is interested in science, so my next read is Dawkins's latest book (The Greatest Show on Earth). It's why I know more about Mythbusters and Pokemon and the Rainbow Magic fairies than I would ever really care to on my own.
Certainly I think it's important to get to know people by spending time with them and just talking. There's something really special about face time that just can't be beat by any other medium. However, I do think that one can gain a lot of insight into what makes a person tick by investigating some of their "favorites." Favorite movie, favorite book, favorite music -- these usually touch us on a very personal level and I find that taking the time to understand those things can help us better understand the people we love. It may even shape us a bit more than we expected.
Though Netflix is still wrong on this one.
What are ways that you like to connect with friends and family to get to know them better?