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Loose-tongued Twitterers are ruining TV

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Checking Twitter on the bus home can ruin your TV enjoyment
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Thanks to Sky+, iPlayer, Media Center and other multimedia marvels, we can watch TV whenever we want.

Is the IT Crowd on when you're in the pub? No problem: you can watch it when you get back. Would you like to binge on an entire series of The Bill on a Sunday afternoon? Just record the lot and watch them in one go.

Is The Apprentice on when you're healing the sick, caring for orphans, finding homes for sad puppies and discovering ways to cure cancer, end poverty and stop climate change? Then by all means record it, but stay the hell off Twitter.

The last time we looked, that big box on the Twitter homepage says "What are you doing?" Maybe it changes at 9.55pm on a Wednesday night to say "Why not tell the entire planet who's been fired on The Apprentice?", or maybe Americans get a special version that says "Quick, tell the Brits who dies in Season Five of The Wire! It's not on there for months!"

Ruining it for the rest of us

Whatever the reason, Twitter users are ruining TV for those of us with better things to do than to watch entire box sets on the day of release, tune in the old-fashioned way to terrestrial broadcasts or move to the USA so we can watch Steve Carell in The Office.

Twitter isn't the only offender, but unlike others - newspaper reviews, work colleagues - it's instant. If you can't watch something at the same time as everyone else, you've still got all night before some sod spoils the ending for you.

With Twitter, you haven't. Recording a programme because you had to work late? Check Twitter on the bus home and your evening's buggered.

Pausing TV just before the end so you can make a quick cup of tea? Check your message while the teabags stew and you'll find yourself wanting to teabag certain Twitterers.

We understand it, we really do. We're the ones in the pub arguing over the best bits of In The Loop, analysing The Wire and shouting expletives at The Apprentice.

And we're not arguing that you should keep schtum forever: if you don't know how Citizen Kane ends by now, it's not really anyone's fault if you find out by accident.

But Tweeting isn't talking, it isn't blogging, it isn't reviewing and it doesn't wait for anyone else to catch up: if you give away the ending, your followers can't avoid it.

That means it's the equivalent of coming out of an early showing of The Empire Strikes Back in 1980, pulling out a megaphone and telling the queuing fans: "HOLY CRAP! DARTH VADER IS LUKE'S FATHER!"

We're warning you now. If you tweet the ending of Star Trek after next week's advance screenings, we're going to make your PC boldly go where no PC has gone before.


Liked this? Then check out 10 Twitter crimes that will get you unfollowed

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Former lion tamer, Girls Aloud backing dancer and habitual liar Carrie Marshall (Twitter, Google+) has been writing about tech since 1998, contributing sage advice and odd opinions to .net, MacFormat, Tap! and Official Windows Magazine as well as co-writing stacks of how-to tech books. "My job is to cut through the crap," she says. "And there's a lot of crap."