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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

How to keep Twitter from spoiling 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' for you




The good news Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens today. The not-so-good news: If you're not among the first fans to see it, today's the day you need to start worrying about someone spoiling it for you. And you'll want to jam those since you know they're coming.

Let's face it, there's not going to be any 100 percent effective way to protect yourself — especially if you have friends or family members prone to blurting out plot points when they should know better. But there might be some ways to keep random strangers on social media from ruining the movie for you. I've found a couple tricks that (so far) are working for me:

Mute keywords in Twitter

Whether you're able to block tweets containing certain words or phrases will depend on the Twitter software you use. I use TweetDeck on my laptop and Tapbots' third-party Tweetbot client on my iPhone and iPad, so I was in luck.

If you use Twitter's TweetDeck software on a laptop or desktop computer, you can use its settings to keep you from seeing tweets likely to contain spoilers. Go into the settings and click "Mute" to see the options for blocking tweets containing certain keywords. Set the "Mute" dropdown menu to "Text content," type your keywords into the box labeled "Using" and then click the "Mute" button. The Huffington Post even put together a handy list of keywords you should consider blocking to hopefully avoid seeing stuff you don't want to see.

Tweetbot worked much the same way. Tap on the mute icon (it looks like a speech bubble with an "x" in it; on my phone I had to tap-and-hold on the lists icon to make it visible), tap "Edit" and then add your keywords one by one. Tweetbot has some nifty features here, too, allowing you to decide whether you want to block keywords in your mentions, searchs and lists as well as your main timeline. You can also set your mute filters to last forever, a month, a week or a day. (Your TweetDeck filters will hang around until you manually delete them, so you'll have to remember to go back and take them down after you see the movie, if that matters to you.)

But what if I don't use TweetDeck or Tweetbot? Or Chrome? And what about Facebook?

Well, your options are more limited. There are a couple extensions for Google's Chrome browser that you can set up to block spoilers (Facebook Filter Feed is one; Force Block is Star Wars-specific and works on a variety of Web pages beyond Facebook), but obviously those won't work for you when you aren't using Chrome. In addition to the Huffington Post link above, I found tips from CBS News and C|Net, among others. If you like to use, say, Facebook's app on your phone or tablet, you're in trouble.

[Last modified: Friday, December 18, 2015 1:09pm]


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