Social media is prompting people to watch more live TV, but not just because of the camaraderie. A new study from found that 27 percent of people don’t want to risk their social network friends spoiling the program for them,

That’s up from 20 percent who said the same thing in 2010, according to Christy Tanner, executive vice president of TVGuide Digital.

Viewers are also discovering new shows via social media. A clear majority (71 percent) of respondents had seen what the survey refers to as a social impression of a program, with 17 percent adding that they started watching a show because of a social impression, and 31 percent saying they have continued to watch a show because of it.

These audience members had different reasons for why a social impression led to them viewing a show. Unsurprisingly, a majority (76 percent) said it was because people had good things to say about it, and 64 percent said it was due to learning the show had topics or storylines that interested them. The third most popular answer was because “I like to watch what others watch,” cited by 13 percent.

It’s less obvious how social media affects a viewer continuing to watch a TV show, but a majority (77 percent) said it was because the impressions helped keep them interested. About a third (34 percent) said their social connections alerted them to controversial moments in the show.

Photo by Flickr user akasped, used under Creative Commons license