If you DVR your favorites shows to view later instead watching them the day they air, stay away from Facebook and Twitter, says Joe Pagetta on PBS's MediaShift blog.
Pagetta mentions a post on Nashville Public Television's Facebook page, bemoaning the death of a certain Downton Abbey character (spoiler alert: It was William, the dopey footman with a heart of gold). The episode in which this character dies had aired the day before, but some Facebook fans complained about the posted spoiler because they hadn't watched the show yet.
From the article:
The days may be over when the entire nation watches scripted television together at the same time, like we all watched the finale of "M*A*S*H" or "Cheers" or even "Seinfeld." Only reality shows or major sporting events get that treatment now -- you can go on Facebook a minute after "American Idol" or "The Bachelorette" ends to know what happened. But we're communicating with each other more than ever, and at the same time, with Facebook and Twitter and other social media tools. Had JR been shot last night on "Dallas," but you could watch it online tomorrow when it's more convenient, would it have been a spoiler to mention it today? How do you tell the world to stop communicating so you can catch up?
I watch all of my TV online, so I have a tough time avoiding spoilers. Sometimes, I don't even avoid them. I seek them out -- especially in the case of Downton Abbey.
The series premiered in the U.K. last fall, so if you Google "Downton Abbey," you can find all kinds of articles, blog posts and YouTube clips, some of which detail what happens in future episodes. Thanks to the Internet, I know which characters get married, which characters die and which characters get berated by the Dowager Countess in almost every episode (I've purposely avoided spoilers for the final episode, because I like some element of surprise).
Of course, there is evidence that spoilers actually enhance your viewing experience. I think it depends on the TV show. If it's well-written show, then spoilers may actually prompt you to tune in. I still watch Downton Abbey every week and I'll probably watch all the episodes again once my Season 2 DVD comes in the mail, even though I know exactly what happens to Mary, Matthew and the rest of the Crawleys.
What do you think? Is posting spoilers about TV shows on Facebook rude? Do you think reading spoilers ruins watching TV shows?