Is social media ruining reality TV?

Social media — Twitter in particular — continues to rise as reality television’s biggest mole. Bravo stars from Housewives to the staff of SUR restaurant are often the biggest culprits of letting relationship statuses slip via likes, retweets, replies, and straight-up hate-tweeting a person of interest from the show.

The problem has grown to the point where Southern Charm cast members have allegedly been asked by production to “tone down” their social media posting until editing is finished and an episode is ready to air, according to Page Six.

While we sympathize with production and agree that keeping an entire cast digitally quiet for months is equivalent to wrangling a herd of cats, a change in production process is imperative and inevitable.

“As a culture, we’re so invested in reality TV; we have to figure out how to get a quicker turnaround. Things shouldn’t be able to be spoiled on social media because they should be happening the week after they’re filmed,” says The Morning Breath’s Claudia Oshry.

In most cases, shows are filmed between six months to an entire year before viewers begin to watch the dramas unfold. Expecting no news to break in that long a window of time is not realistic. Fans of reality television are as impatient as they come — and to their credit, they are the sleuths of sleuths when it comes to figuring out what’s happening in real time as their bingeworthy shows are filming. If you’re a reality beginner, find yourself a Facebook group that is wholeheartedly committed to uncovering real-time drama, or just pop on over to your favorite cast member’s Twitter page and see what tweets they’re liking.

In the end, what’s the point of watching a three-part Real Housewives reunion when everyone at home knows there is no question that Siggy Flicker despises Margaret Josephs, and any hope for a reconciliation is bleak? Their Twitter feud is alive and well almost two months after the reunion filmed, so learning anything new when it finally airs in two weeks is doubtful.

Let’s give credit where credit is due, though. Shows like Siesta Key, The Bachelor, and even The Four have either put their casts on complete shutdown after filming wraps or have fine-tuned an editing process that leaves no room for social spoilers.

Hopefully, a change in the reality TV production process is looming.