TV + Social Media: You’re Doing It Wrong
How often do you take a moment to stop and think how fascinating society is and how it’s evolved? There are some behaviors once the norm that are no longer so publicly accepted (e.g., smoking in bars)—in that same token, there are habits people have now that would be superfluous just a few years ago.
One of the new habits is society’s ever-growing use and dependence on social media, and with that the frequency comes by-the-minute updates for new shows and films.
At this very moment, the brilliant and addicting show Breaking Bad is debuting its season finale, bringing to a close a 5-year run of surprises, heartaches, and a whole lot of meth. Proving to be one of the most groundbreaking shows on television, even dubbed “the greatest television drama of all time” by quite a few outlets, it’s easy to understand why the show has the fans that it does, and why today is a very important day for AMC.
But with it brings to light a behavior that has cropped its ugly head on social media: SPOILERS.
Spoilers, for those somehow unaware of its term and therefore probably not using social media (making this rant unimportant to them, but hey, thanks for reading) is the practice of revealing important plot elements of any form of media. If something’s popular, you can be sure there are spoilers abundant on the internet. But spoilers themselves aren’t all that bad: we share because we want discussion, we want to others to partake in the same feelings we’re having, we want to see if the theory we spent 5 months on actually panned out.
It’s how social media uses spoilers that makes it problematic.
Here are some extremes:
- One group posts spoilers and doesn’t care who reads them, because they’re excited or frustrated about what they just witnessed and need human interaction, even if that means some friends will read the end of Lost and hate you for it.
- The other group is agitated by the smallest spoiler, and lash out and the spoilee… spoiled? Spoiler? Whatever.
- Then you have those that don’t care either way. <– I want to be one of these people.
Whichever side you may be on, I’d like to propose a middle ground, because unlike most internet arguments, there is one! This may end up saving your friendship, because yes, these type of things happen now. It’s petty, but do you really want to see if your friendship is strong enough to withstand The Walking Dead challenge?
I don’t think taking these details into account will ruin anything for you, because remember, social media is about being… social… and that sometimes means abiding by some ground rules to make sure everyone’s happy:
- If you’re the type to want human interaction IMMEDIATELY when an episode blows your mind, just add a small *SPOILER WARNING* before your post. Those who aren’t quite caught up yet will simply scroll pass your spoilerific tweet and suppress their Hulk-like nature.
- Understanding why people are not watching the show at the same time as the rest of the world is important too: some of us are just too busy, or are horrible at time management. Maybe the last one is just me.
- There’s also the possibility that they DID try to catch up but 24-hours a day was just not enough. In fact, that’s what happened with a coworker; he really wanted to watch the Breaking Bad finale with everyone but he was starting season 1 when everyone else was on the second half of season 5. There was no way he’d make it.
- Consider this scenario: A friend overheard everyone talking about how great Sons of Anarchy was, and they see the first few seasons are finally up on Netflix, because let’s face it, not many people have cable anymore. They binge watch through every episode, but now have to wait until the next seasons are available. Is it really their fault? Maybe, but every time they came over your house, you closed the door in their face. Rude.
- Don’t post vague messages about the episode you just saw, those can be just as bad as detail-filled statuses. Someone who’s as big of a fan as you will understand your coding without meaning to.
- Don’t post images with a clear spoiler on it, instead just show the link so those who have seen the newest film/TV episode/finished the game can choose to take a look.
- The internet will continue to be the internet folks, so if you’re like me and know that someone might accidentally retweet something spoiler-prone, just avoid social media for a few hours: when the episode begins showing on the East cost until a few hours after it’s finished its Pacific viewing. This is a bit of a gap, but you can take the time to acknowledge that boy/girlfriend you’ve been neglecting.
The same consideration should be taken in the real world—you know, when we actually interact face-to-face with other human beings, because there are always innocent bystanders around that may hear a spoiler to a show they just started.
Honestly, it boils down to being considerate and respecting someone else’s schedule and viewing habits, that’s all.
Yes, this is all way too serious for a TV show, but I was really upset when someone spoiled the Red Wedding for me 🙁