How to Avoid Ruining Shows on Twitter

*I originally wrote this post back in 2009 but from a few complaints I’ve seen on Twitter already, it was worth reposting*

Everything is instant and we’re all connected globally.

So what happens when our Twitter feed has the potential to ruin our night of television?

Back in the day, when I did reviews, I’d wait to post a review blog on TV show until the west coast had aired it…and even then, the title and the first five lines of the blog would read: SPOILERS!! STOP RIGHT THERE!! giving the reader plenty of warning.

Where’s the warning on our Twitter feed? How about Facebook?

I made the mistake last week, during the episode of Glee, to Tweet lines while watching the show live. Realizing my mistake, I then tweeted @ those users that I knew were watching it at the same time but then you run into the problem of having common friends who can still see your Twitter feed. Even if you give fair warning, the instant Twitter feed will quickly bury your warning tweet. If a friend is following 500 people, your tweets probably won’t stand out too much but what if you’re just one of 20?

Posting REACTIONS are different than actually narrating the show itself. “Whoa, what just happened?” will incite excitement and anticipation for the friend who has yet to watch the episode over “Wow, I cannot believe she just threw a rock in his window!” will make them resent you for ruining a surprising moment.

Be considerate and wary of the people that you share your daily insights with…Here are a few tips on not alienating your friends during Fall 2011:

1) Find out which of your readers watch the same shows you do. Send out a poll tweet to get an idea.
2) Be aware of the time zones that your friends live in.
3) Use your direct messaging/IM. Keep the spoilers out of the public timeline. (One of my favorite things to do is chat on IM with a friend who’s watching the same show as me, especially for shows like Glee)
4) Give reactions to the show without giving away plot details. (Quotes are usually OK during comedies, as long as you aren’t giving away a surprise)
5) On Facebook, consider opening up a running note to talk about the show with those watching it at the same time, instead of posting status messages.
5) ENJOY THE SHOW! You can tweet/facebook about it the next day!

A Tweet is not a blog…There’s nowhere to bury the content.

Remember that as excited as YOU are to watch the new episode of your favorite show, so is everyone else who is a fan. We’re all busy people with very different schedule.

We integrate our lives with each other instantly on Twitter & Facebook. Let’s extend the consideration and remember the golden rule: NO SPOILERS.

Is this a problem that you’ve run into? Do you have any other tips/suggestions/complaints?

13 thoughts on “How to Avoid Ruining Shows on Twitter

  1. I can’t stand when people live tweet. Whether or not it’s a show I watch (and since I don’t have TV, I catch it online the next day) it’s annoying to try and filter through those tweets when I just want to read my timeline to see what everyone else is up to.

    My question is how do people find time to tweet as they’re watching a show? I feel like as I’m looking down to type on my phone or computer, I’m missing stuff on the screen.


    1. I can’t stand live-tweeting, especially because I have friends from all over the world. And I’ve tweeted quotes from shows during commercials, or if I’m watching it while doing work (life of a freelancer) but at the end of the day, no one cares. 


  2. Thank you for posting about this. Since I live in Greece, I can’t watch any shows live. I try to avoid Twitter when it’s like a standout episode. (Season Finale) or an award show. But in the middle of the season, out of the blue, a tweet will ruin something for me. 

    Like you said, there’s a way of tweeting about shows without ruining it for the rest of us. I don’t mind a direct quote. Lots of people do this with Parks & Rec. It’s fine, it gets me excited to watch the episode. But revealing plot points, NOT COOL. 🙂


  3. Good advice! I’ve SUCH a tendency to spoil things. I struggle with it often. I try to keep #4 in mind, but now I’ll try to add some of the rest, too.


  4. I’m not a big live Tweeter, but I hadn’t even thought about it in this context! I feel like I’ll be more careful in the future. Twitter owes you. 😉


  5. i feel the same. i dont use twitter, but i am on facebook. and it makes me every time upset, when somebody bombs away my wall. they think, that the facebook wall is their blog. the only thing i can do, is to ban them. When i want to share some personal, only for the close friends, i always use the group chat feature. facebook isn’t a blog, mates!


  6. Oh my goodness, this drives me NUTS!!!! Thank you for posting this. I have some people on my Twitter feed that constantly live tweet shows that I watch. Ex – one guy tweets EVERY FREAKING second of Top Chef episodes, including the winners. I keep saying I’m going to unfollow him, but I really enjoy interacting with him other than the one hour a week he ruins my show!!!

    In this day and age, so many people DVR tv shows and watch them later. I totally agree with you in the end: tweet things that aren’t revealing! If you say “OMG True Blood just got exciting…” and someone tweets back…just DM them to talk specifics! Easy peasy.


  7. You are quite right. I have always hated when people live tweet I show that I am watching. It is so frustrating and annoying.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.