Mar 28 2012

How Social Networking Has Become the Ultimate Spoiler

Published by at 10:00 am under Columns,Debate,Movies,Television,Video Games

There is truly an epidemic going on worldwide right now and it seems very few people are properly addressing it. It has happened to all of us, but we are all too ashamed to even speak of it. Every day, on every social network on the web, be it Facebook, Twitter or whatever site you choose to frequent, some inconsiderate soul posts some major plot point that ruins a movie, video game, or a TV show for someone. And even though I have been guilty of it myself on a few occasions as a result of some articles I have written, I am still not above saying it is a huge problem and it needs to be addressed before all the joy is taken out of everything.

There are very few feelings as infuriating as the feeling you get when you are genuinely looking forward to something and someone callously ruins it for you.  From something as minor as a shift in the dynamic of a relationship being established between characters to something as serious as a death of a major character, some people just seem to feel obligated to make sure they let people know about it the second that they do.

And though I do understand the joy in sharing in a moment with other people, collectively, you don’t walk out of a movie theater yelling about the ending to the people in line to see the next showing, so why has it become so widely accepted for people to spoil stuff in a similar fashion, only on Facebook as opposed to face to face?

This is what I think people who post spoilers must dress like at home.

To understand how truly far reaching this spoiler epidemic is, you first need to understand who it affects. Its reaches are felt most by people who do not have the sort of income that is required to purchase a video game the day it comes out, or the kind of expendable income it takes to go see a movie the first night of its release.

Coinciding with that, these are the same people who can not necessarily afford on-demand and in some cases, even cable TV at all. If they like a show, they need to go to a friends house or hope someone buys them the DVD when it is released. Also, people who work more than one job (like myself) often aren’t allowed the convenience of having the nights off that coincide with the night or nights that their favorite shows air.

And it affects people who are parents, who do not have the time free or have prior obligations.

And it affects people who go to school full time or work full time.

And it affects people who may work full time and devote their free time to a passion like writing or art and are not always on top of trends as soon as they happen because they are distracted by things they deem as more important.

And it affects kids who play sports after school. And it affects people who work nights. And it affects people who may be sick or staying somewhere other than their own house for whatever reason.

In other words, it affects everyone.

Spoiler Alert! These two are the same person. Oh wait, I mean….

But the question this begs is, just because they cannot afford the same lifestyle as everyone, does that mean they should be punished by having something they enjoy spoiled for them by someone who seemingly knows nothing about tact or reserve?

No, it doesn’t. And before social networking, the only way movies and games would be spoiled would be that ONE idiot friend with the loud mouth that everyone has. And generally, you learn pretty quickly who that person is and just stop talking to them because they suck, but what happens when you realize that it is WAY more than just one person, and you are surrounded by them? That is why I was brave enough to call it an epidemic.

Spoiler Alert! The Titanic turns into a robot and walks everyone to shore safely. Best. Ending. Ever!

Now understandably, people will respond to this article with ” Delete your Facebook and stop whining!” but my life does not allow me such luxuries. I am a writer, who makes a living (?) writing online, and a huge part of that is interacting with people who read my pieces and I tend to use it as a resource for me to plug my pieces and do my best to make them viral through as many networks as I can. Does that mean I should be punished?

Although spoilers have been an issue forever, the problem has become a lot more widespread as a result of the internet, and even more so in the last two or three years. Honestly, Game Of Thrones really propelled the spoiler problem to the mainstream for a lot of people. That show relies so heavily on plot twists, people would feel compelled to run to their Twitter and immediately post about some crazy turn of events that took place on the show. And NEVER posted with spoiler warnings. And now the new season is starting, and one must brace themselves, because, inevitably, SPOILERS ARE COMING.

And don’t EVEN get me started on some of the people who have read the Game of Thrones books, because their constant threats of “Well if you thought THAT was crazy, just wait until so-and-so is introduced….” has steadily become the new most annoying way someone can patronize another person in my opinion, and it is sure to suck any joy out of the show for the viewers if that particular trend continues. It should matter little, be it book or show, how about people just stop posting major plot points about currently running shows?

If that idea is too damning, perhaps we can do a statute of limitations? Maybe, five seasons or so? That seems fair. Once something has passed the five year mark, it is social network public domain? Can we all sign something and agree on this? It seems very reasonable to me.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand what it is like to be a huge fan of something, and for the excitement to almost bubble over, but plot reveals should be treated like secrets, be it book, movie, or video game. There are forums to discuss things openly, but all social networks in general are not the proper forum.





More Unreal Posts


18 responses so far

  • andrew

    There’s only one solution. Unplug. Go social network free and be happy.

    The only downside is that you can’t keep in contact with the people that you were kinda sort of friends with in high school. It’s tough, but somehow we all trudge on.

  • Janna

    The couple facebook spoilers I have encountered came from a forty something stage mom who just likes people to know she knows things. No intentional douchery, just an honest desire to share feelings with others.

  • JZ89

    Forget media, what about when family members find out about deaths over social media? Thats f’d up.

  • http://nope hallam

    Ah, the ultimate first world problem.

    First off, it seems that Facebook spoilers are less common in an average person’s wall than they are in yours. Secondly, I gather that this inconvenience comes with your particular job, which doesn’t seem to be the toughest job in the world, so you get more than you lose from this excessive interest that people show in media. I know there’s a bit of satire in the article, but it really seems like you’re serious in some bits.

    And thirdly, I don’t get how knowing that something will happen could make everything so miserable. In the days before the internet, you wanted people to tell you about that one episode (or issue, or movie) where “x” kissed “y”, or where “z” goddamned DIED. You got curious.

    Sure, some spoilers can be nasty (The Usual Suspects, etc.), but normally, a tweet or status update isn’t enough information to “ruin” the whole thing for you. Even if you know what happened, you still get to see how it happened and enjoy the show.

  • Purdman

    I think a lot of what twitter is about is being able to share moments in real time with tons of people. I’m watching the Knicks game, look on twitter and see what sports bloggers and newspaper guys are thinking about the game.

    The same goes for tv shows, when comedians crack wise about breaking bad or the oscars or whatever.

    It’s one of the big draws of twitter, experiencing events together and sharing thoughts.

    Sure it sucks when I record the game and then accidentally am spoiled on twitter, but what can I expect? The people watching the game to wait a few days then tweet “and the knicks won 98-92 and carmelo scored 23 points, 54 hours ago”

  • https://www.facebook.com/asleepinsidemysoul Remy Carreiro

    I knew you guys would have some solid points about this, which is why I chose to pose this question here…

  • http://www.shaveurlegz.com shaveurlegz

    epic rant is epic

  • Mike Wytrykus

    I can relate to this. Just last week, I got on Facebook and had the latest episode of Supernatural spoiled for me mere hours after it aired (I’m a couple episodes behind, all sitting on my DVR waiting to be watched). The real kicker here is, it was spoiled by the official Supernatural Facebook page! You’d think they’d wait at least a full day.

  • Mike

    I understand if you require facebook and twitter to stay in contact with fans of your writing but surely the only way things would be spoiled for you is if you read through their history of statuses?

    I mean I can’t really imagine someone contacting you and saying something along the lines of, “Hey! Love your 500th official article on Pokemon – oh! And can you believe Bruce Willis was a ghost?!”

    I stick primarily to Facebook chat if I want to talk to someone over it, especially as it doubles as a message/email system where they can see the message next time they log on. You’re even able to configure things so you DON’T have to see the statuses of other people. But, again, I don’t know exactly what you use social networks for.

    I agree spoilers are now something widespread thanks to the new culture of telling everybody everything all the time. There will always be terrible people that just want to ruin it for others too, whether they mean to or not. Personally, I avoid most spoilers I don’t want to know so it hasn’t become an all consuming irritation yet.

  • Eileen

    OMG I totally agree to this article! Here is a prime example that I can really relate to this. I had SOOOOO many friends who automatically assumed that I had already seen the Fight Club, and BAM told me the ending. I was like w-t-f! I havent seen it yet fools! LOL I was so pissed. Either way, I just saw that movie just 2 months ago. Crazy, right? It was one of David Fincher’s awesome masterpieces. But sadly, I already knew everything about the movie before I even saw it. Also what kinda pisses me off too is when people call out the ending of the movie while you’re still watching it, like OMG this is going to happen! and then it happens! LOL I fuking hate that. Either way Rem, awesome article as always :) Just thought I’d share some of my thoughts ;)

  • SpartaChris

    So people are supposed to not talk about a movie that’s, what, 13 years old because you still haven’t seen it?

    @Mike Wytrykus- So it’s their fault you aren’t up to date on your DVR, and they shouldn’t capitalize on the excitement of the fans after their season finale ended?

    Here’s a thought: How about unplugging from social media until you get a chance to watch whatever it is you don’t want spoiled? It’s both unreasonable AND self centered for you to expect people to not talk shows or movies they’re excited about simply because YOU haven’t made time to see them yet.

    That is all.

  • https://www.facebook.com/asleepinsidemysoul Remy Carreiro

    @ Andrew, I address why I cannot simply “unplug” like most people in the piece. Guys, please at least READ the pieces before you respond to them?
    @Hallam, I agree with the “first world problem” point and it made me lulz, so touche. And while this job may appear easy, try and understand, all of us who write, write for multiple websites and magazines, this actually being my “fourth” technical “job”, so as easy as it may appear, 40,000 words deep by the end of a work week is no easy task, rest assured ( I will put my plumage away now, sorry about that) but, I found all your points quite valid, actually.
    @Janna, in those cases, we cannot. Hell, in those cases, there is almost a child like innocence to it.
    @JZ89, yeah, even I won’t touch that.
    @shaveurlegz, that gave me a genuine laugh, and I needed one today, so thank you.
    @Purdman, that is a really good point about Twitter, and that is why I like to post this stuff here, because sometimes, it shifts my thinking a little bit. Still hate it, though UNDERSTAND it more now, so thank you.
    @ MikeW, that is the WORST example of all. Most counter productive media marketing I have ever heard of.
    @Mike, well, I don’t actually write any of the Pokemon stuff for this site, that would be Paul Tassi, Editor-In-Chief. My articles have been a little more rape heavy and just a wee bit darker,
    but your point is still solid. I have yet to get the ” Hey Remy, that scene about the little black girl stuck in the fridge messed me all up, too. BTW, Ned is dead.” so you do get a point for that post.
    @ Eileen, you rock for reading these pieces steadily and always commenting, thank YOU so much. Yeah, the Fight Club spoiler was a big one for awhile. And that is a HUGE way to ruin that entire experience for people. I STILL refuse to even talk about Fight Club, only because that is rule #1.
    *laughs

  • Jim Lahey

    @Remy

    I just thought I’d point out that you writing a personal response to every commenter on this article goes against what you wrote to hallam

    “And while this job may appear easy, try and understand, all of us who write, write for multiple websites and magazines, this actually being my “fourth” technical “job”, so as easy as it may appear, 40,000 words deep by the end of a work week is no easy task, rest assured”

    You say 40,000 words is a lot, but you say that within a 400 word spiel.

  • Charlie Ward

    40,000 words is half a novel, Jim. It’s a lot.

    Anyway, I just want you to know that I enjoy your articles very much Remy. Good insights and junk. I can’t really relate to this one, of course, as none of my Facebook friends really like the same things that I like, but I realize that’s an oddity. Incidentally, though, I feel I must note that the “Ned Stark Moment” was actually spoiled for me by Paul Tassi, who tagged it not. He didn’t come right out and say it, or anything, but he implied it SO heavily that you’d have to be a real dunderhead not to figure it out.

  • ShawnaD

    @Spartachris – People CAN capitalize on there excitement without completely ruining the ending! Or if they would just write SPOILER ALERT before their comment, it would be more socially acceptable. As someone who works nights, I rely on my DVR to catch up on a lot of shows. While Sons of Anarchy was airing last season, I had 1 FB friend who was posting throughout the entire episode! Seriously! Annoying! You really don’t get that??
    Remy – I agree with u 100%! There need to be more rules in place for this. When I rented Shutter Island, I was excited to leave work to go home & watch it.. I had told my co-worker of my plans & asked her if she had seen it. She replied with “oh yeah, the one where Leonardo……….” I won’t even finish that sentence just in case someone hasn’t seen it but she totally spoiled the twist!

  • Mike

    @Remy – Sorry mate, I lose track of who writes what on here. In future:

    Paul Tassi – Pokemon.

    Remy – Oh god, so much rape.

  • https://www.facebook.com/asleepinsidemysoul Remy Carreiro

    @Shawna yeah, it’s odd. What I have taken away from writing this piece is that people must love spoilers for the most part, and I am the worst human ever for bringing this up. But I sort of think those people slightly foolish. Either that or I have grown so complacent in my own insanity that I learned nothing, not sure which yet. But Thank you for the support.LoL @ Mike, now that is more like it….

  • Verve

    It’s really not that hard to type:

    *SPOILERS*
    blah blah blahs
    *

    But then my friends that have similar interests know better than to omit the warning. As for the rest of the internet, I’m pretty good at recognizing an upcoming before actually reading it. Except I may have had Mass Effect 3’s ending ruined for me. Not sure yet.

    Oh well, I’ll live.
    Nice article.
    And 40K per week? I’m lucky if I can do 8K. :(

Categories

Archives