It’s Sunday night and if you’re a person like me, this is the only free time you have to watch your favorite TV shows.
With the invention of recording devices like the DVR and live streaming services like Hulu and Netflix, people can enjoy their favorite programs, news, events, etc., without having to commit to a specific schedule that often conflicts with their leisure time. During my week days, I build up a lot of expectations for my TV shows so I have to make sure I preserve the mystery until the weekend has arrived.
Nowadays, keeping your show’s plot unspoiled involves a lot of effort and cleverness on your part, particularly if you are a good social media user. Social media outlets such as Twitter and Facebook represent a challenge for consumers who watch shows after premiere episodes have aired.
Of all the new social media applications out there, Twitter has become the biggest double-edged sword. Fans who turn to this platform often tweet critical developments of the shows’ content and engage in public conversations with too many important details. In the meantime, consumers who haven’t seen the programs are exposed to these conversations and the mystery is killed.
There are various reasons for this problem. For instance, users might be in different time zones. Thus, some people watch the episodes before others. Convenience is another point. Some people just prefer to watch TV during their own free time and not necessarily when episodes are aired live. Another important fact is that people who have premium cable have greater access to new episodes than those who don’t. Therefore, some users have to wait for re-runs and by then, they’ve probably read all about the episodes on social media platforms.
People feel a natural impulse to share their emotions on social media while watching TV. As we can see on the image below, 40% of users who watch TV engage in social networking at the same time:
While people feel the natural impulse to share information, the news media feel the obligation to attract target audiences with key plot points on TV shows and newsworthy events. E! Entertainment wouldn’t be the same if it didn’t announce the weekly winners of American Idol on Twitter. Fox attracts a huge volume of Twitter conversations when it announces The X Factor‘s groups that go to live shows.
As a society, there is little-to-nothing we can do to regulate how we share the information. People have First Amendment Rights to free speech. We can’t restrict them from sharing their thoughts. Additionally, networks and their shows are entitled to interact with consumers as a form of customer service. Most importantly, we can’t deny the fact that the use of Twitter or Facebook is a voluntary act for communication. Users should be aware they will get information they might now want to see.
So what can be done? Here are some simple tips if you feel your TV experience is being ruined:
- Reduce the Noise by using filters. One way is to filter the content of the tweets you get on your stream by using unique keywords.“Slipstream” is a magnificent app that not only helps to deal with too many tweets, it also hides what you don’t want to see.
- Manage your timing. Avoid using social media platforms that you know will spoil the moment during and after the episode has aired.
- Don’t be a victimizer. Think about others, too.
- Be familiar with news outlets that are most likely to present details about your TV shows and avoid contact even the next day after the show has aired.
- Be clever. If you feel the urge to turn to your social media outlets, try to scroll over posts and tweets without reading content from users you know will post information you don’t want to read.
What do you think could be done to preserve the mystery of your favorite shows in addition to these tips? Share your story!!!