Mar 28 2012

How Social Networking Has Become the Ultimate Spoiler

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

Spoiler Alert! Peter Dinklage owns a small part of my heart.

And you can say ” Well, avoid Twitter on those day the show is on” or ” dodge the Game of Thrones hashtags”, but for anyone who has spent any significant amount of time online can tell you, even in avoiding those, you will still be lead to websites with spoiler articles and spoiler headlines. It is just how the web works, once something is trending, forget about it. Even sports websites were talking about the Ned Stark moment for crying out loud (see how the show is under five seasons, so I called it the “Ned Stark Moment?”). Is there is no safe place, no sanctuary, from the damnation of the spoiler?

And please spare us the ” Well you guys are guilty of this, too!” retorts, because we are a website that reports on popular culture, which means show and games and movies are often reviewed. That is kind of OUR JOB. But Paul Tassi (who does the reviews) does a remarkable job of posting spoiler warnings, and besides,  if you open an article about a show or movie you don’t want spoiled, the fault is your own for opening the article.

That being said, if I am guilty for ever spoiling something for you on a piece I had written, I extend a genuine apology right now. That is never my intention, but, from time to time it will happen. At least when you are reading a list of shocking moments, you can almost understand how there could be a spoiler or two, so I imagine you approach it with caution, but again I have to ask, what is the excuse on Facebook or Twitter?

Spoiler Alert! There was a cake in the box at the end of Seven, and Brad Pitt HATES cake!

Also, whose fault is it for looking at Facebook or Twitter and being subjected to some pretentious ass posting about the end of the Hunger Games books? Should we not be allowed to enjoy the fruits of social networking just because some people are trolling or are too stupid to know what a faux pas is?

The other contenders for “things most people like to spoil” lately would be The Walking Dead TV show and the ending of Mass Effect 3. From people posting about what characters got killed or went missing on The Walking Dead every Sunday, to the people posting about what party members died in Mass Effect 3 for two weeks straight, it was like the world was playing a cruel trick on me and urinating all over everything I love, R Kelly style.

Spoiler Alert! Rick performs self surgery and becomes a woman in season 3.

And in an ironic spin, there is that part of me that wants to reduce myself down to their level sometimes, but I catch myself. I have read every single issue of The Walking Dead comic book and could probably spoil the sh*t out of it for every person who has ruined an episode of the show for me, but the truth is, I don’t, because a spoiler hound is the worst thing ever.

And for those who want to argue that The Walking Dead show “DOESN’T FOLLOW THE COMIC BOOK!”, you are absolutely insane on an inconceivable level to me. You think they are not going to at least SLIGHTLY follow the blue print of stories laid out by the massive comic run? Yes, I have heard “them” say that the show does not follow the comic book, too. And it is a brilliant move to keep everyone watching and to limit spoiler hounds from crapping out all the big reveals.

But rest assured, every single thing that has happened in the show, that has actually been relevant to the show, has happened in the comic book, albeit it on a very different timeline, with the exception of the CDC and the redneck hand removal. Just the fact that TWO major characters in the comic story lines have been cast for the next season tells me I could spoil the sh*t out of it, but like I said, I dare not encroach upon the level of pretentiousness some of those Game of Thrones readers so hungrily hold on to right now. I will NOT become what I hate most.

In hindsight, when thinking about game spoilers, I am actually grateful Skyrim had such a weak story, or I am SURE that would have been another thing ruined via social networking. Luckily, Skyrim posts just boiled down to “Just got my 13th shout. Game glitched and I fought two dragons at once. I love this game.” (or) ” My companion just fell thr0ugh the floor because of a glitch and now all the loot I had him carry is GONE! I HATE this game!”

Honestly, the first person who ruins the inevitable Bioshock Infinite surprise for me, or for anyone else for that matter, will be tortured in ways that would make that weird old guy from Saw blush.

This tree just complained about the ending to Mass Effect 3 on Twitter.

Now I fully realize thus far, this piece sounds like nothing more than whining, but that is not the case. In between all the whining, points WERE made. It is not about just complaining, but it is about bringing this issue to light.

I think we all need to understand that not everyone is internet savvy, and some people, who must have been liberally allowed to nibble on lead paint chips as a child, just cannot grasp the concept of a spoiler. But these have to be the same people who do not understand how it is not OK to wear underwear on the outside of your pants or who to punch inanimate things, right? How can these people not know that spoiling awesome is unacceptable? Or could it be they just don’t know?

Perhaps it is our job to take those people under our wings delicately and inform them of the error of their ways. To let them know that blurting out things that they are excited about is just not OK, and in some cases, ruins the story and suspense and enjoyment for others who have not yet had the time to enjoy said intellectual property.

Blurting things out uncontrollably may also be the sign of an onset of Tourettes Syndrome, which as most of you know, is no laughing matter. Best we band together and find out early then let these people live their lives without knowing.

Or on the other extreme, maybe they are just stupid, selfish people who take pleasure in ruining things for other people because their lives are so shallow and meaningless that they do whatever they can in a desperate cry for attention to quell their unquenchable, starving loneliness?. At which point, we should all delete them out of our social networks and “friend” lists, because they are obviously not well.

And if we all delete the people who leave spoilers on Facebook or Twitter, we would be left with about 3 friends each. But at least the spoilers hounds would be silenced. That is a small price to pay.

And the survival rate of laptops would increase significantly as a result.





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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. :(

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