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Use apps to turn your Twitter feed into a spoiler-free zone

Philip Michaels | Feb. 17, 2014
Are the people in your social media sphere yammering on about House of Cards or the Winter Olympics before you've had a chance to watch?

TV-related spoiler screening seems like it would be more effective on Spoiler Shield. My House of Cards shield didn't let anything through at least, blocking even anticipatory tweets about the new season as well as posts from people proclaiming no interest in the show at all. Another reason the app works better with programs airing on specific dates like TV shows rather than ongoing events like basketball and the Olympics: Spoiler Shield really isn't a full-fledged Twitter client. You can post your own tweets and retweet and favorite the others, but you can't reply or monitor your interactions. It's really an app to use when you know the spoilers are going to fly fast and furious before you can safely retreat to the Twitter client of your choice.

Spoiler Shield isn't the only spoiler-blocking game in town. I've also been testing an app called BloKO to keep the Olympic spoilers at bay. BloKO is decidedly more limited than Spoiler Shield: It only blocks sports (in addition to the Olympics, you can filter NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, and MMA social media posts) and it's only available on iOS. It's also not as effective as Spoiler Shield, at least not in my tests.

Part of the problem seems to be with BloKO's approach to Olympic filtering. Rather than one Olympics category, BloKO features Olympic filters for a dozen different countries. Forget to set one of those, and the odds of an Olympic result sneaking through increase, as I learned when I discovered that Evgeni Plushenko had pulled out of the men's figure skating competition because I didn't select the Russian Olympic filter.

BloKO is essentially a Web browsing app—in addition to Facebook and Twitter, the app offers spoiler-free browsing of Yahoo and ESPN as well as NBC's Olympic site and the official site of the Sochi games. (If you want a spoiler-free look at those last two destinations, I might argue that you are unclear on the concept of spoilers.) The browsing can be a little bit clunky, and BloKO's interface isn't the friendliest I've ever experienced. It's an option if there's a major sporting event you'd like to keep under the radar, but don't expect a seamless experience.

Google Chrome users have another option—an extension called Twivo. Billed as "Tivo for Twitter," the extension inserts a box at the top of the Twitter website. Type search terms in that box—"House of Cards," say—and hit Record. Twivo filters out tweets that match that term, saving them to playback later after you've left the spoiler-free zone. The extension's interface doesn't offer a lot of visual cues to let you know you're screening out tweets, but I managed to make it work after some experimentation.


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