Thursday, December 10, 2015

How Spoilers Ruin the Experience of Storytelling

Spoilers on the internet are nothing new however on the week of December 7th, I witnessed it escalate beyond anything I had ever seen before. The new episode of the CBS television series Supergirl "Human For A Day" was ruined for many when countless Facebookers posted screen caps of the big character reveal during and after the show aired. The geek community had reached its breaking point. After years of shows being ruined for them such as Game of Thrones, Doctor Who, Once Upon A Time and The Walking Dead (just to name a few), the Supergirl spoiler was the final straw. Arguments broke out, people were unfriended, some even blocked. In the wake of the frustration there were those on the other side of the argument that didn't care they ruined a friends viewing experience. No one was going to tell them what they could and could not post on their page, right? There was some colorful language on both sides of the argument.  I literally took a break from scrolling through my Newsfeed for a couple of days until things cooled down. It was getting downright ugly on Facebook. Is this a big deal? You're damn right it is. Spoilers on the internet are ruining the experience of storytelling. It's turned into a civil war in the geek community.

The art of storytelling is one of the oldest traditions among mankind. Storytelling has evolved from telling tales by the fire to writing them down in text. We tell stories through plays and the theater, through ballet and music. Novels, comic books, television and movies are our chance to sit and experience a story full of adventures and fascinating characters. We hang on every word in anticipation of what will happen next. We are connected to the story. We are connected to the characters. When it is spoiled for us, it shatters everything we are connected to. It ruins our experience and destroys how the writer and director intended us to experience it. That is something people on the other side of the argument don't understand.

Avoiding spoilers can be more difficult than searching the planet for red kryptonite. My method was going onto Facebook only to check my messages and check in with the charity group I volunteer for (which is primarily run on FB). I attempted to avoid my newsfeed however that failed because as soon as you log onto Facebook you are taken to your newsfeed and BAM! The first image I see is a spoiler for a show that aired not even 24 hours ago.

The Official Walking Dead Facebook Page ran into some heat  last year when they posted an image revealing the death of a character immediately after the episode aired on the East Coast. They completely ignored the fact that the episode didn't air yet on the West Coast. The result was an avalanche of angry fans nearly crashing their Facebook Page. The Walking Dead Facebook account issued an apology. They never made that same mistake again.

Can you post whatever you want on your page? Absolutely. However it's not difficult to post a "SPOILER ALERT" warning, post your thoughts after the cut or warn those on your friends list that there will be spoilers in the comments. I know many people who have started private Facebook groups so they can discuss their shows without ruining it for everyone else on their Friends List.

In the words of Doctor Peter Venkman, "My friend, don't be a jerk."

Things should be interesting on social media when  Star Wars: The Force Awakens is released....


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1 comment:

  1. If you love a tv show/movie series/book series/etc, why would you like to ruin that feeling of being surprised to another fan?
    I remember watching the Doctor Who anniversary movie. I avoided Twitter, Facebook, and any other risky internet place for a couple of weeks. I knew David T. And Math Smith would be the main characters. Everyone knew Ecclestone was going to be a no show. But that magic moment of hearing Tom Baker's voice and thinking, "it can't be. Could it be?", was amazing. Thank nondescriptive deity no one ruined it for me.