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Will Twitter Ruin Netflix’s Venture Into Original TV Programming?

With Netflix’s release of all 13 episodes of its first-ever original TV series House of Cards starring Kevin Spacey, Robin Wright and Kate Mara, and directed by David Fincher, comes the question of how social media will affect the company’s venture into social TV.

Because here’s the thing: Twitter and TV are more inextricably linked than ever before. 95% of online public conversations about TV take place on Twitter, and 40% of all Twitter traffic around peak time is about TV.

And remember: all 13 episodes of the show have been released at one time, for flexibility of viewing. Which is great.

But is Twitter going to ruin Netflix users’ House of Cards experience by talking about future episodes others may or may not have seen, filling their Twitter streams with major spoilers?

As Tim Goodman of the Hollywood Reporter points out,

“People love to talk about shows on Twitter — especially if something big happened (a character dies, etc.). Even with the most closely worded tweet, some of the experience of actually viewing the show will be lost. For example, I get annoyed (as do others) even at the mere suggestion in a tweet that “something big/awesome happens tonight, don’t miss it.” That’s seeing the train coming, isn’t it? I don’t want to spend time distractedly watching an episode and thinking, “Oh, this must be the part — here it comes for sure!” That takes me out of how I view and process a show.”

Agreed completely. The organic experience of watching a brand new TV show unfold simultaneously with viewers around the world is lost, thanks to the combination of the all-at-once release and Twitter.

But couldn’t you simply ignore those tweeters talking about the show? Twitter apps like Tweetbot and Tweetcaster even let you “mute” people from your Twitter stream.

Well, not so easy — as the LA Times writes, there’s already been a “social media buzz binge” over this show, with “well over 10,000 mentions since the show’s debut just after midnight Friday.”

You can certainly unfollow TV buffs until you watch all 13 episodes, ignore trending hashtags that are related to the show, stay out of any Twitter conversations about House of Cards. But how can you possibly predict when and if any of the hundreds of people you follow send a single tweet about, say, Episode 4′s cliffhanger?

So Twitter, and all social media, is definitely complicating the future of TV. What’s your opinion about all this? How are you planning to consume House of Cards?

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