Twitter could solve its TV-show-spoiling problem with one simple feature
We’ve all experienced it. Or, at the very least, we’ve seen it first hand.
One of television’s biggest shows is airing its latest episode, which you have safely PVRed for when you have the chance to sit down and watch it later that evening.
But then what? You make the mistake of hopping on Twitter to see what is happening elsewhere in the world, in hopes that no one has spoiled that pivotal plot twist in your favorite show. (Really, you should know better by now...)
The most recent example is this week’s episode of The Walking Dead, where a major character (spoiler alert!) gets killed. People went to Twitter to loudly proclaim their disbelief in this development, who then in turn got lambasted by others for spoiling it. It’s a vicious circle, really.
So there are two problems here needing solving:
- People want to come onto Twitter for many purposes, without having major television shows spoiled for them before they can watch.
- Twitter doesn’t want people to stop using its service for hours simply to avoid television spoilers.
Yes, there is the option to add mute filters, and I have often recommended using that option, but not everyone knows how or is tech-savvy enough to do it.
So what can Twitter do to solve these two problems?
Well, after discussing the absurdity of people thinking they can avoid spoilers on Twitter, a techie colleague of mine had an idea:
Yes! That is it!
So I thought, let’s expand a little…
Twitter is already grouping together tweets by television shows that are currently airing. Here is just one example for Once Upon a Time:
When you tap the “more” option, it brings up a page of tweets, cast accounts who are live-tweeting and so on. Clearly Twitter already has the technology to sort tweets by simple mention of the TV show, let alone hashtag.
Twitter should also use this technology and nudge you in the early evening in a “While you were away” fashion, asking if you want any big shows that are coming up tonight temporarily muted with a few simple taps (but then auto-removed by the next day). Give the option to do the muting FOR them with a list and shove it in their face to select any or all. If people want to turn the reminder off because they find it annoying, let them in settings. But still have the feature available to them to seek out without the reminder, because you know they’ll want it eventually at some point.
Yes, the mute filters are there already (again, if you know how), but we know people like simple and convenient solutions to their problems, so here it is. This way people won’t complain about getting shows spoiled and Twitter won’t lose users who are staying off the site to avoid spoilers. Everyone wins, including those of us who have to watch the fights from a distance.
So come on Twitter, do it for the betterment of the Interweb. You know this wouldn’t take much to roll out and many users will be grateful for it.
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