Spoiler Alert! Don't Be That Guy.
So, I’ve recently jokingly expressed my concern about a phenomena that appears to be an online social media EPIDEMIC of the most vile and loathsome type…. the spoiler. (And you thought I was gonna say selfies…close). But after last night’s display of disregard for us in the Can’t-Afford-Cable-Club, all joking is aside. (Okay, not really, I’m mostly still joking right now, but in a VERY SERIOUS WAY. Ish).
As sort of a social experiment, right before the mid-season finale of The Walking Dead began, I made a post reminding viewers to save the surprises for those of us who watch it later. (I didn’t actually think it would work, but it was fun to see people get on board.) As I had suspected, my efforts were in vain, and before the body of __________________ was even cold (or zombified), the name of the fallen was posted all over the web. And not even in any kind of interesting context! Just, like, “OMG ______________ is dead!” Well, neat. Thanks a lot.
(See how I didn’t say the name of the character that died? In case someone reading hadn’t seen it yet? Yep, and I’m still feeling fine. No itchy rash or anything. Pulse is normal. I think I’m okay. Moving on…)
Let’s get down to the possible reasons for this social media etiquette fail that has been building momentum since before we figured out what was in the hatch.
1. You want to prove that you’re seeing it first.
Okay, but you really don’t have to say what’s happening. You can just say that you’re watching. Or post a screenshot of the TV. Or take a selfie with a main character (if that character is still alive…hmpff.) And you can still revel in camaraderie with the rest of your kind (live viewers) by posting stuff like “OMG YOU GUYS I DID NOT JUST SEE THAT.” Then, the ones who are watching at the same time as you will know what you’re talking about, and the rest of us will just have further confirmation thatyes, you are much cooler than we are.
2. “If you aren’t caught up, stay off social media ‘til ya are”.
Well, okay, I see your point, if your point is that YOU ARE A JERK. Don’t we all know someone who is currently still watching Breaking Bad? There’s always someone who is WAY behind. Or even starts a series after its over in real time. I get that there is a statute of limitations on this thing. I mean, no one is going to be mad if you talk online about the fact that you’re SO HAPPY that Rachel and Ross ended up together, or that its not Penny’s boat. But some things are just known for their plot twists. Even though it came out in 1999, would you REALLY feel okay posting a status that reveals the ending of The Sixth Sense? Of course most of us have seen it, but THINK ABOUT THE CHILDREN. Think. About. The. Children.
And also, eff that. I shouldn’t have to log out of my Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Vine accounts because someone hates joy and happiness. I have other things I need to check on there, like what my co-workers are eating for dinner and if my ex is divorced yet. So don’t banish us later-watchers like outcasts, forcing us to check our MySpaces just because we had to work Sunday night or we cut out the cable bill.
3. No reason really, its just funny to piss people off.
Now when it comes down to it, I think this is probably as close to the truth as we’ll ever get. There’s no REAL reason to post a spoiler. You know its gonna make people mad. But meh, its just TV. Really, no one should take it that seriously. *shakes fist *
4. I really didn’t even think about it, OOPS!
Because I am a believer that everyone makes mistakes, and can be forgiven, I will give a nod to those who have posted in the heat of the moment without thinking about the consequences. I think I’ve done it myself. (Survivor, Panama, Courtney, I’m sorry I JUSTHATEDHERSOMUCH.) So, yeah, its possible that you’re not a jerk, you just got carried away. We can forgive you. Once. (Unless it’s a finale, then you’re dead to us.)
I’m a busy mom with a full time job, so I know how precious free time is. So you can say all day that it’s just a television show and it’s a dumb thing to get worked up about and…you’re right. It’s NOT IMPORTANT AT ALL. But watching these crazy shows is something those on both sides of the issue enjoy, so why not zip those lips (and fingertips) until the big reveals become common knowledge? It may be silly, but it’s a fun escape. In this, the time of TiVo and Netflix, we should really try to stick to vaguebooking. “AHHHHHH I CAN’T BELIEVE SHE TYPED THAT, ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!!” Like so.