Does Twitter affect how you watch TV?

April 18, 2011

There are myriad ways to watch your favorite television shows without tuning into a broadcast. In an era of DVR, Hulu, Netflix, and networks posting their own content on the Web, it seems as if there’s hardly a need to tune in for a broadcast.

Unless you don’t want to the show spoiled on Twitter. Or Facebook. Or fan forums. In fact, if you want to watch something on delay spoiler-free, it’s best to just stay off the Internet all together.

A report from AdAge highlights what’s become a standard for sports fans and devoted viewers of popular shows such as American Idol, Glee and Dancing With the Stars: live social-media commentary to accompany the latest episode.

Networks and advertisers haven’t ignored the phenomenon and have launched their own Twitter campaigns to engage with the instant commentary. The BBC even aired its American premiere for the popular sci-fi show “Doctor Who” on the same day as its British premiere to avoid Twitter spoilers, the report said.

While companion social-media coverage can create buzz for a show, AdAge is quick to point out that it doesn’t always mean big ratings. The top-rated shows don’t match up with the top-mentioned shows on Twitter, though American Idol and Dancing with the Stars are high on both lists.

Have you ever had a show spoiled because of social media?

Related stories:

Super Bowl tech makes the game a social media event

WatchParty uses social media to connect television viewers over the Internet

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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