July 12, 2011

Social Media & Spoileritis

Social media.With the power of Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and all those other social media sites with ridiculous names that we find absolutely normal comes the power to post any thought to the world instantly. Any picture, any news, and any moment that just happened on a television show.

Remember: with great power comes great responsibility.
(You have no idea how long I've been wanting to use that line in a post).

Just because you can post a spoiler doesn't mean you should. Repeat it, learn it, make it your mantra. When you are excited to tell the world about the insane scene that just aired on Game of Thrones, restrain yourself. Sit on your hands. Phone a friend you don't like. Don't put it on Twitter or Facebook or Tumblr to slap the world in the face.

Sometimes I want spoilers. I want to be the one to go dig them up. It needs to be my choice. When Battlestar Galactica was airing, I spent an inordinate amount of time on the LiveJournal Battlestar Blog community reading theories and leaked spoilers. When I couldn't watch episodes the night they aired, I'd log on with the desperation of a dehydrated maniac and read the episode summary and analyze the main events. Even so, the spoilers were politely put behind cuts. You had to actively click on a link to face the spoilers. It was hard to do by accident.

But now. I visit my Twitter feed within five minutes of a show ending on the East coast and some tool is posting the ending. How long should you wait to post spoilers? My advice: if it is that hard for you to contain yourself, find a forum or specific chat room where everyone's on the same page. Or episode. After a particularly frustrating experience after Game of Thrones, someone mentioned - "well, I at least wait until it has aired on the West coast." Here's a crazy thought: not everyone gets to watch a TV show the day it airs. You can't put Twitter or Facebook or Tumblr behind a break. You are forcing your spoilers down the throat of anyone who follows you, and damnit it's rude and inconsiderate.

This has been a public service announcement.


  1. Agreed, forums are one thing, live feeds, ya, go post the spoilers and opinions on forums made for it, sadly, that is not what the social networking is about, it is about instantly sharing your opinions.

  2. People seem to forget that twitter is NOT a closed system like facebook. Everyone you know may or may not be watching the same program at the same time. My personal policy is two weeks from air, for twitter. Aside from reviews, which I always post with a CLEAR spoiler warning. I often choose to be spoilered for things I haven't seen, just to stay current, and because my own *experience* of it, won't change because I know facts about the plot. (ex. I cried just as much in HP&OoTP/DH1 as I did reading the books.) Tweeting spoilers carelessly is one thing, it's the people who do it on purpose, or change their usernames, or tumblr URLs, and such, who make me go batty.

  3. This should, I think, generally apply to anything that's not popular knowledge. I nearly had something from A Feast for Crows spoiled for me because someone was having a chat about A Dance with Dragons in a public IRC chat I frequent. The argument was made that AFfC is too old to be spoiler-worthy. I disagreed. ASoIaF isn't Star Wars. "Everyone" knows that Luke is Vader's son. But I'd still be mindful if I knew someone nearby hadn't seen Empire Strikes Back yet.

    It's about being mindful of what you're saying and where you're saying it.

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  5. I totally understand where you're coming from here. I recently spoiled some things for my followers, and I felt horrible for the spoiling and the spoilt.

    But here's the thing: if there's something you don't want to know about, the solution is usually not to ask everybody else in the world to avoid talking about it. For several reasons. First and foremost, it's untenable. If spontaneous conspiracy on the part of every other living soul is your last, best hope of not being spoiled, you're setting yourself up for disappointment.

    But further, it's a bit solipsic and entitled, don't you think? "Logic clearly dictates that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few." If you've had to delay in the consumption of your favorite bit of diversion and live in fear of its secrets being revealed prematurely, isn't the obvious solution to unplug from the twitters and facespaces and kick it like it's 1995?

    Social media is a privilege, not aright. And as much as I agree with your guidelines for its producers, let us not forget that its consumers are ultimately responsible for their consumption.

  6. yup i agree! i keep away from facebook & twitter when i'm watching a movie or a show to avoid spoilers. it's really hard when social networking is everywhere nowadays...

    btw, i like the term spoileritis! :)

  7. While I agree with the sentiment behind the post, it's just something that is not going to change.

    People are people, it is what it is, and so on.

    I had to find other means for watching the final few eps of the recent Doctor Who because BBCA skipped Memorial Day weekend and there was no way I was staying internets free for the 3-4 weeks it would take for BBCA to air the finale.

    Personally, I subscribe to this theory. I won't go on a spoiler spree in public, I know where I can find people to talk to about it. Or If I do post something on Twitter or FB it will be something as generic as possible to encourage anyone that has seen it to get involved in a personal conversation about it.

  8. Totally agree. And it's more fun to imply things and tease with statements people won't get till they see the show.

  9. Yeah, I don't really see it changing either. People who post spoilers are going to keep doing so. Joshua makes a good point.

    It still doesn't mean that I'm not going to be insanely annoyed when a movie is ruined for me on Twitter.

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