Watching video online is becoming increasingly popular, and new video streaming technologies have the potential to transform video watching from a passive, isolating experience into an active, socially engaging experience. However, the viability of an active social experience is unclear: both chatting and watching video require attention, and may interfere with one another and detract from the experience. In this paper, we empirically examine the activity of chatting while watching video online. We examine how groups of friends and strangers interact, and find that chat has a positive influence on social relationships, and people chat despite being distracted. We discuss the benefits and opportunities provided by mixing chat and video, uncover some of the attentional and social challenges inherent in this combination of media, and provide guidance for structuring the viewing experience. Author Keywords Video, interactive television, social TV, chat, strangers
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