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December 18, 2013

SPOILER ALERT: Twitter ruins TV

Social media and comment boxes on articles are dangerous territory for TV fans amid season finales.

By Cbr Rolling Blog

We’ve all been there, it gets to the season finale of our favourite television show and before we get to watch it, someone on the internet inadvertently gives away the ending.

This is becoming a very frustrating occurrence, particularly on Twitter. If the show in question has already been aired in the US/Australia but not yet in the UK, it is all too easy to accidentally stumble across someone’s comment, totally ruining any climax or hidden plot point.

Unfortunately, this happened to me this week with Homeland, one of my favourite TV programmes of the moment. While the penultimate episode aired on Channel 4 in the UK on Sunday night, the US is one week ahead, so American audiences have already seen the finale of the third season. Don’t worry; I am not going to give anything away for those of you still waiting to see this episode!

I was aware of this, so stayed away from Twitter. I was however foolish enough to be snooping around a popular news website in which I saw an article about Homeland which I believed was entirely unrelated. While the article itself didn’t give anything away, the top comment in the discussion section at the bottom was a blatant plot spoiler.

To say I was furious was an understatement. Admittedly, I should have just vetoed anything to do with the show if I did not want to know anything, but the article itself did not have any specific spoilers. Yet someone was thoughtless enough to comment on the series climax on a British website, knowing full well that the episode had not yet aired in the UK.

The same publication is now under fire for publishing articles with the headline ‘SPOILER ALERT’ followed by a sentence that hints very heavily at what the spoiler is and then running through nearly the entire episode frame by frame. There is a difference between discussing a television show and re-narrating it before it has even been aired.

While we cannot control what occurs on news sights, there is thankfully a way that you can stop Twitter spoiling your favourite shows for you. There are apps available that can temporarily block certain keywords and terms on Twitter to shield you from any unnecessary blabber mouths online.

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The plug-ins for Google Chrome or options on Tweetdeck and apps for Android and iOS allow you to exclude tweets containing various terms or tweets from certain people. It even offers a follow-up report to inform you how much traffic has been blocked.

Or, you could just not go on Twitter. And not read any news sites. And not speak to anyone who might blab. Just don’t leave the house until you’ve watched the last episode of Homeland. If you still haven’t seen the end of Breaking Bad, I’m afraid I can’t help you.

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