Kaitlyn Booth

Spoilers, Social Media, And How to Not Be A Jerk

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Before I got hired by WatchPlayRead I was writing my own blog, and I did an opinion piece about spoilers and social media. I thought about just linking to it again now that it has come up with the release of Star Wars but my points were a little different for that piece. That one talked more about Game of Thrones and the whole “if you didn’t want to get spoiled read the books” mentality, and for a movie that doesn’t really work. So here I am again, writing another editorial, trying to explain to people why you shouldn’t be a jerk on social media.

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I did not go to an early screening of The Force Awakens so I saw it at the same time as everyone else on Thursday night. I follow two YouTube movie critics and they both had reviews up that I avoided because I don’t like to read other reviews until I see something for myself. However, after I saw the movie I went and watched those two videos, despite the fact that they were both spoilers. It was not those videos I was worried about, but as I scrolled down I saw that the first comment was someone posting the entire movie, in all caps, for all the world to see. This was at 10pm mountain standard time on Thursday night. The movie was barely out and people were going out of their way to spoil it for everyone else which is what prompted me to write this article…again.

We live in a connected world where I could go see The Force Awakens, get on Twitter and spoil the entire movie before the credits are even done rolling. That is the world we live in with social media, and since almost everyone has at least one account there is really no avoiding it. However, as someone who can’t talk about spoilers as part of my job, I understand the temptation to spoil the movie you just saw. When I saw Avengers: Age of Ultron all I wanted to do was talk about the character that died in that movie but I had a few days before I could. When I saw the pilot for Jessica Jones I wanted to talk about that but I had to wait six weeks. You need to resist the temptation to talk about this stuff out of of consideration for others. I know it’s tempting to say “it’s my twitter/facebook/whatever and I’ll talk about whatever I want” but that’s incredibly short sighted. You probably like the people you follow, or are friends with them, so why would you want to ruin it for everyone else? Why would you want to take away the “oh my god” moment that you experienced for everyone else?

That being said this is a two way street, and those of us avoiding spoilers need to do a little work as well. I’m not a fan of going completely dark the days before but you should probably avoid some places. Not reading the comments on YouTube videos and the tags on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr are a good way to start. Not everyone tags their spoilers, though, and that’s where filtering systems come. This year Google seemed to realize what was going on and created a system on Chrome to filter out all Star Wars material to help keep the movie from getting spoiled. On Tumblr there is an extension on Chrome called Tumblr Savior where you can blacklist certain tags so you can’t see them. There are similar programs for Twitter but not for Facebook just yet. These small steps can help keep the movies and television shows unspoiled that you’re worried about.

At the end of the day it comes down to not being a jerk. If you’re the type of person that intentionally spoils movies, television and books for people then I think you need to reevaluate your life. There has to be something else more fulfilling for you to do. For those of us who want to remain unspoiled we also need to do a little work as well to try and avoid the spoilers the best we can. There isn’t any right way to fix this problem aside from taking all of the jerks off the internet and that isn’t going to happen anytime soon. There isn’t any reason to assume everyone has the time to run off and see the latest movie or episode of a television as fast as you can. If someone spoils something for you call them out on it as politely as you can, and if you get called out just apologize and move on. There are a lot of genre movies coming out next year so let’s try to collectively work on being a little nicer to each other when it comes to spoilers.

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