There's a reserved spot in the Bad Place for people who talk through live shows or movies — but it's 2020, and with a pandemic still roaring, we're all over home entertainment more than ever. From the comfort of your own couch, it's possible to binge entire decades of TV or gather for a live stream, just like we used to, sort of. Some would urge you to keep your phone out of your hand, to stay in the moment and enjoy what's happening now. Next time that happens, take some pleasure in telling those people that they're wrong.
Researchers from Rutgers and New York universities have just released a study about something we all do: comment on a thing we're watching in some online forum. This second-screen experience, whether it's livetweeting or Discord or some other kind of chat, should be distracting. Instead, the team found that it increases our enjoyment of an event, even when we dislike the media we're talking about.
"By generating content relevant to ongoing experiences, people can use technology in a way that complements, rather than interferes with, their experience," said coauthor Gabriela Tonietto.
To be clear (and the researchers are), this doesn't apply to social interactions in themselves. Multitasking is a form of constant interruption, and humans as a species aren't very good at it. But if we're bonding with other people over our own running conversation? That's a pastime well worth your attention. Feel free to keep on typing as you mainline your favorite show.