Spoiler Alert!

Have you ever fallen behind on a TV series? Whether by your doubts of its quality or simply having a busy schedule, I am willing to bet that 100% of people say yes, and have had the following happen to you:

1)  a.  Miss an episode of blah blah

1)  b.  Decide to start watching blah blah and hope to catch up to real release

2)  Log on to social media

3)  Realize the commonality of friends’ content is due to a common source: the episode you have not yet seen

4)  Post about your frustration that the plot was just spoiled for you

5)  Bide your time until next week when it quite possibly happens again

There is nothing worse than trying to enjoy and/or catch up on a series and having the plot ruined for you. There’s plenty of shows this could happen with:

  • “Breaking Bad”
  • “Game of Thrones”
  • “Sons of Anarchy”
  • NCIS
  • American Idol

…to name a few. I personally had to refrain from any and all use of social media for what turned out to be a week while I caught up from season one episode one to the fifth episode of the third season of Game of Thrones. I watched these episodes so quickly despite their length because I could not stand staying off of social media for so long.

It seems as though this issue is finally on the way to being resolved. I have noticed tweets by several classmates, including Daniel Heffernan who noted that a Netflix app called Spoiler Foiler that allows you to log on to Twitter and prevents any mention of the show “Breaking Bad” from appearing on your Twitter feed. As a recently turned viewer of “Breaking Bad” I am really excited about this tool. I am only about halfway through the second of six seasons, so I have had to be extremely careful when using social media, as the epic final season has unfolded. Thankfully, the show is nearly over, so it won’t be a problem much longer, but it is nice to have the option of this app to avoid ruining the show completely. I just hope that apps like this come out for every show, particularly Game of Thrones, and that this idea may spread to other social media networks.


source: http://mashable.com/2013/09/23/netflix-spoiler-foiler-app/

The thing that I don’t understand is how this has taken so long to appear. Not only has the technology been available for years now, but also this show is nearing its end. Is this a sign of things to come? Maybe the end of the show is a good way to beta test the application. Either way, I can’t wait to try it out next Sunday. Only thing is, I’m not so sure how useful it is if you can only use the feature through the website. I am not a huge fan of entering my account information on third-party sites, and I prefer to use my own methods and applications as opposed to having to go to this specific site.

I wonder if this technology will expand, and where it will move to first. As I’ve been writing this post, I realized just how valuable such an application could be for sporting events. There have been many times that I record a Patriots game to watch later that night, and then see a Tweet or Facebook status about how great Brady played or how the game was a sure sign of the Patriots being Super Bowl contenders. What would be really cool is if somehow things like this could work for the radio and print media. Maybe Google Glass could have some wild technology to help? Who knows what this world could be capable of.


  1. Mike – Spoilers on my social media feeds have become a pet peeve of mine as well. I frequently find myself fast forwarding through times that I know spoilers have been posted, and even then, I’ll still get plots ruined by people watching the show a day late.

    Although I do think that Spoiler Foiler is a good idea, I don’t know if it will be used all that much in the future. From my knowledge, Netflix doesn’t post episodes of breaking bad immediately after airing, so this tool wouldn’t do much for your feed while shows are airing.

    I really think that the only way around this problem is to not follow those who post plot spoiling information on social media. Honestly, posts like “that was the best show ever..” or “I can’t believe that was just the ending of [insert show here]” don’t bother me. The one’s that do are the ones that release too much information, and I wouldn’t want to follow people who do that anyways.

    This post raised a lot of thoughts for me! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Interesting topic! I’m a great TV series fan and I have faced this “problem” several times (I am a big NBA fan too and the different time zone with my country, makes the attempt to avoid spoiler even more difficult). I have recently started to watch Breaking Bad (I’m in the middle of the second season too) and I am trying to catch up with the TV broadcast (nearly impossible since it will end next week).
    Personally I have developed my own method to avoid spoilers: I know if my friends are great fan of some TV series or sport games and I try to avoid to visit their Facebook/Twitter profile.
    The app you talked about is really interesting and I am thinking to try it next week. However I have your same concerns about giving my information to a third-party sites.
    In addition I am a little bit worried about the implication of this kind of apps. Potentially it can give us the power to decide which information we want to be aware of, limiting the freedom of the press/speech/expression indiscriminately, without a human supervision.

  3. Like you mentioned in your blog, I too was surprised to hear about the Spoiler Foiler initially… The idea was so obvious that it almost upset me that I hadn’t invented it myself.Personally, I’ve never been a big follower of television shows, but seeing people react to television events on social media becomes almost as entertaining as the t.v. spectaculars themselves. The litany of comments after each release of Breaking Bad or any award show is amazing, and its no surprise that people jump to social media to share and express their opinions.

    Personally, watching sports games a day late has always been a routine for me. I traditionally worked Sundays and would miss football games. I’d spend the entire day avoiding Facebook, Twitter, and ESPN updates to keep the games a mystery. I can’t begin to stress how useful an application like this would have been for those afternoon struggles.

    Going forward, it will be interesting to see how the technology progresses. The ability for Spoiler Foiler to recognize titles appears pretty basic, and I’d love to see how it evolves and what alternate uses could be in store. Could the filter be used to actually harness results or separate discussion from reactionary posts?… Who knows

  4. I agree with – if Spoiler Foiler can progress to something that could work for sports/shows/movies and use more than just the title of a program to determine if a post is actually a spoiler that would be awesome.

    This makes me think about the Olympics two summers ago and how I would know everything that happened in the events on Twitter before it aired in the US. A lot of people complained about this and wanted the events to be shown on the networks real time; but if a piece of software could be designed to cut this news out of the feed, it would help the Olympic experience a lot so that you only knew the results of an event if you went looking for it.

  5. This was a perfectly timed post! I had the exact same experience this weekend with a sporting event, only to have the results revealed to me before I had time to watch it. Despite this, I still plan on Stubbornly watching to see how everything unfolded.

    As some people have mentioned, we could just stop following anyone who would reveal the results, but what about news. If I want to know what is happening to my favorite team (San Jose Sharks) during the regular season as far as trading and injuries goes, Social Media is the quickest way to get those answers, but I don’t always want the results. If would be nice to have a plugin to an existing app that could block some posts like Spoiler Foiler. It’s only a matter of time.

    I am going to look into it now and see if I can find anything useful…

  6. Wow, I’m so glad you wrote about this because I, too, had no idea about Spoiler Foiler!
    It’s interesting that it was invented by Netflix. I also think it’s cool that you have the option to view the tweet or disregard it. Like Tyrone said, we could just unfollow anyone who would reveal unwanted results, but then we also might miss stuff we want to know. So, this is a really awesome tool for people to utilize. Here’s a cool article about spoiler alert and breaking bad.


  7. Mike, I love that you touched on this topic. I completely agree with you that social media is one of the biggest, most obnoxious spoilers these days, and it always seems so unavoidable! I’d never heard of that Spoiler Foiler site, but it is such an obvious yet genius idea. I also can’t believe it hasn’t expanded deeper into the industry as well as into other industries as well. I find it strange that its only use is for Breaking Bad – like you said, if the technology is there, why not simply make it for Game of Thrones, Mad Men, Homeland, etc. too. This topic covers a really interesting twist to social media – a really great idea for a blog post!

  8. Mike, I completely agree and can relate to your post! I am constantly one who is behind on the episodes of my TV shows and they lose all suspense and excitement when I read about what happens before I watch it. I especially agree with you on how it is most annoying during sports games. There is nothing worse than even being only a few minutes behind and having an exciting move or play be blasted over social media that you are expecting it to happen and no longer excited by the game.

    I think this concept is a very interesting one and definitely would be helpful to prevent the suspense of television from being spoiled. Although it is currently only for Breaking Bad I could see this having great potential in the future to expand. If we can easily search a term and have twitter yield all posts that contain our key words, we should easily be able to do the opposite and block all tweets that contain the words as well. I am interested to see what happens with this app in the future and really hope we see it broaden to be applied to wider terms.

  9. This is a cool app that I didn’t know existed. I too try to avoid Facebook or Twitter when certain shows air because I usually don’t watch them live. It’s funny that you mention Breaking Bad because one of the stars Dean Norris who plays Hank Schrader in the show posts spoilers after the episodes which angers some of his followers. His responses are pretty funny.

    dean norris ‏@deanjnorris 17 Sep
    MORON ALERT 48 hours after intl release, if u not caught up on BB? a) stay the f*ck off twitter b) @mindykaling take ur spoiler like a man

    dean norris ‏@deanjnorris 20 Sep
    For last time.Social media=watercooler.Part of experience of BB is sharing at watercooler.If NOT up to date, avoid f*cking watercooler

    I agree with his point about social media being a watercooler and a good place of discussion of the episodes, and I think this app gives the best of both worlds. It allows the “watercooler” community while not spoiling anything for those who still want to use social media while not getting their shows spoiled

  10. Rachel – I’m not sure I understand why you think Netflix’s posting policy affects this app?

    Stefano – Interesting concern about the implication of these apps…Do you think people could let them evolve into avoiding certain world news topics?

    Sean – I totally agree with your point. There are many times when it is a spoiler that doesn’t pertain to me, and it can be pretty entertaining to see how people react to it.

    Sydney – I remember the pains of that past Olympics as well. As an avid fan of swimming (being a swimmer myself), it was miserable trying to watch Phelps’ performance when it was impossible to not have heard the results already.

    Tyrone – Interesting thought…if people will be able to block every mention of a particular show, etc. then maybe it can get more specific, like results to sports as you mentioned.

    Caroline – It’s amazing the things we can learn from each other’s posts in this class! Gotta love it!

    Taylor – Thank you for the compliments on my post!

    Michaela – I think we are all very curious to see where this technology will take us. A brilliant idea that is way behind its time…

    Ian – Loved those tweets…definitely didn’t know he did that!

  11. This post clearly struck a chord. What a great idea for an app. I have actually found myself not “liking” shows on FB, becuase I don’t watch the updates. I’m binge watching Breaking Bad now.

  12. Mike, I tweeted about this as well and would love to see this incorporated all across the board. Sports has got to be one of the biggest areas that would need this in my opinion. Sometimes you record the game and want to watch it a little late only to have the last second field goal ruined for you through social media. That is the worst.

    My only concern is that it will be extremely hard to monitor absolutely everything. For instance, I am a huge Ravens fan. How will they be able to make sure no spoilers get through? Are they going to block out every players names? Which could in turn block a lot of harmless tweets as well. I look forward to seeing how this will develop.

  13. Professor – It’s incredible! I’m about to start season three…I wish I could watch them faster

    Covington – I agree that it seems difficult, but with today’s technology and the geniuses out there, it must be possible. I mean…there are apps that use your phone’s vibrate function to have the phone sit on edge and rotate in a circle while taking a video. That blows my mind. Maybe this is somehow more difficult than I’m allowing for, but I think someone could do it. I would think there would be some sort of keyword bank that would block them for a period you set yourself (ie 24 hours to catch up on the Ravens game)

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