THE BLOG

How Spoilers Are #Trending

26/10/2016 16:56
Blend Images - Colin Anderson via Getty Images

Has the vast infinite network of the internet finally gone too far? With an ever growing social network list and communications apps, it can be considered that with every passing day it has never been harder to enjoy something in your own good time. Do you often remember that feeling of immense excitement as you finally shrug off the workday's weariness, to put on your most lazy clothes and enjoy those blissful thirty minutes to an hour of sheer visual escapism? Now it seems it has almost become a necessity to watch popular television programmes as soon as humanly possible - be it through the typical programming channels that are usually on at a set time once a week, through binge watching full seasons or even source the entertainment through illegal means.

Are we finding ourselves so overwhelmed by the brilliance of televised shows such as Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead and most notably Game of Thrones that we now "need" to watch each episode as it becomes available - no matter the method? Perhaps even going to the extent to stay up into the wee hours of the night just so we can "rest" assured that we have fulfilled our own addiction to such brilliant forms of the visual medium. That could indeed be the case for many of us, however, there could be another explanation as to why we have that urge, that feeling which nips at our heels making us move faster and watch more: that there are simply people out there who like to feel more informed over the rest of the viewership - to gain as close to insider knowledge as possible, to own "assets" of desired information which is not readily available for the rest of the world, to wield that mighty power and then callously use it against us. The dreaded spoilers!

Not to blame those who simply get overexcited and need to share - we all probably have on one occasion let something slip accidentally to one of our friends: the ending of our favourite M. Night Shyamalan film, a surprise guest appearance that made us squeal with excitement, the best joke in a comedy show and a shock moment in our favourite series. But now, spoilers are out there consistently and seemingly appear to be actively trying to find you; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram are some of the worst platforms that offend, but now even public forum sites are no longer safe - our intuitive eyes acting like telescopic lens that focus in on the words that we know we shouldn't read any further. Not too long ago we used to record T.V. events with grace, politely telling our best friends and work mates to "shove off" with their football results; but now we are so deeply immersed in social sites that perhaps this war is already lost - what option is left but to join the weary-eyed people and gain the inside information first hand just to enjoy those particular twists and turns of our favourite characters.

When Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows was released I was about 20th in line in my local bookstore queue. It was the fuss and the dribbling of the previous book's plot that had tarnished many magical moments and the author's careful handling was lost on me when I was forced to prematurely mourn for "that friend" among those pages. This time I was determined to not be made a fool, I was not alone in the sixty strong crowd that had also scoffed at the prospect of waiting 9 more hours, they weren't playing second fiddle and neither were the preteens in wizard robes that huddled with their parents. I was more ready to read than at any other time in my life and I had finished the book within those first 30 hours of taking my copy home. A fantastic book as you most assuredly know, but the memory was tarnished by my need to not again be a spoiler-victim; I hadn't given the words the patient care they deserved and now occasionally regret the lost anticipation of going to sleep for many more nights, pondering how it would all end.

Looking around a table of new friends I felt it conceivable that conversations are now noticeably harder to maintain, perhaps not because the art of communication has failed, but I would like to believe we are all looking for commonalities, and our interests are our passions that we love to share - which can undoubtedly venture into spoiler territory when not everyone in the conversation has caught up. A gentle "please" usually does the trick in person, but social sites can be a different fight entirely and I have found spoilers are a lot harder - almost impossible - to control. I have approached this situation in three ways: firstly is the polite "do not spoil" request as a status update or tweet, a second method - uses an avoidance strategy after the event - is to wait and discover the hard way those who spoil, then to edit your preferences by making their posts less visible or a more extreme action is to unfollow/unfriend said spoilsport, but finally a third alternative is to openly seek out those who post spoilers deliberately, then through intensive research and a vengeful mindset to directly message them further spoilers of future shows and films that they would most definitely enjoy. Quite immature, but they started it!

Of course it can be considered just a natural part of life in this technological generation in which we should be the ones who adapt and that we should take everything with a "pinch of salt", perhaps find an inner peace within the exceptional popularity of our favourite shows, indeed that it is more a blessing to have such like-minded friends in our social groups because of course "to err is human; to forgive, divine." But there is a deep part of me that just has to disagree and though it may be petty, it may be a childish attitude to adopt, but I quite like surprises and if someone ruins the best ones for me, well, I'm just going to have to rescind your invite to my birthday pizza-party.

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