Social TV can be fun for even the anti-social

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Despite what many believe, I am not a troglodyte. I am technologically proficient--if not exactly cutting edge--and I can navigate my way around Facebook or Twitter if I need, or more importantly, want to.

Just because I can do these things, however, doesn't mean I'm necessarily interested in the fact that a Facebook acquaintance awoke with a headache or another noticed a person of ill-repute hanging about an airline lounge or yet another had a problem with the seat mate on the train, or, worst of all, that any and all of them love their children and spouses and parents and pets.

When it comes to those sorts of messages, it's fair to say that those who call me anti-social are spot on. The running joke at my golf course when I head out on my own is, "Just you and your best friends, eh, Jim?" I don't take offense; it's good company, even if it's bad play.

For the preceding reasons and probably multiple others I can't recall at this very moment, I'm not exactly the sort to embrace "social TV"; and yet, to an extent, I do. It's not because I'm social--we've already established that I am predisposed to be antisocial--it's because I'm cheap. I like to get something for nothing or close to nothing. When people ask if I'm free, I respond no, but I'm inexpensive.

If I'm going to expend an effort on anything--even something as seemingly mindless as vegging out in front of my plasma TV--then I expect something in return. That's where social TV--or at least the Viggle version of social TV--comes into play.

I am a Viggle subscriber. This is not an endorsement, just an explanation of what I find attractive about a "social TV" application. Apparently Viggle offers a place where I can share my likes and dislikes and text to my heart's content about the misbehavior of the bad boys of the Sons of Anarchy, although I've never found any reason to go there.

I use Viggle to repeatedly check in on the program I'm watching, because the more check-ins I have, the more points I get, and those points will eventually translate into gift certificates for retailers that I frequent, and gift certificates equate to something that's free or inexpensive in my thrifty mind.

In short, I'm a social TV user not because I'm social but because I'm cheap.

I found it interesting this week when Viggle said it would acquire GetGlue and roll that social TV function into its own. Especially interesting was that GetGlue's subscriber base was about three times that of Viggle, mostly comprised, I think, of people who not only want to watch television but want to tell the world what they're watching. As if anyone's interested.

Viggle is promising "new and appealing features" for new and existing subscribers. I hope that means more points that can be used at more stores--think Golfsmith and Golf Galaxy--not a direct social connection to my Taylor Swift-loving teenaged niece. Love the niece; don't need to know what she thinks about Taylor's latest outfit. -Jim

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