May 23, 2013 at 8:49 PM ET
A new advertising method from Twitter will watch for tweets from you about certain TV shows and allow those shows' advertisers to target you. Of course, you can always ignore their tweets the way you ignored their commercials.
The new way to target ads was described in a post on the Twitter advertising blog Thursday. It works like this: Suppose a user were watching a sitcom and tweeted about it. And suppose that during one of the commercial breaks, Macy's had an ad promoting a spring sale. Twitter's tool would alert Macy's that this user had been watching, and Macy's can choose to follow up with something like the following:
"@TVwatcher: Did you enjoy the episode? You know that the characters do all their shopping at #Macy's, right? Follow this link for a 15% off coupon..."
Or something like that. It's a bit creepy, but the fact is that tweeting publicly, like searching on the Internet or buying something with a credit card, already exposes you to this kind of directed advertising.
The Twitter TV ad targeting is only rolling out in beta form for a few U.S. partners at first, but don't be surprised if you start seeing suspiciously accurate ads in your Twitter stream later this summer. Twitter explains the effort in the video here:
Devin Coldewey is a contributing writer for NBC News Digital. His personal website is coldewey.cc.