As you know – if you are a dedicated reader that is, I really enjoyed the new Star Trek movie. In fact I mentioned that there were at least 3 real surprises to me during the movie. I had to work really hard to keep myself sheltered from Trek news and movie spoilers for almost an entire year. This was a very difficult task, considering how connected we are all and that everything these days can appear on twitter and Facebook seconds after it has occurred.
My efforts to remain in the dark (pun intended), for “Star Trek Into Darkness” got me thinking about how social media can serious hurt our enjoyment of TV & film.
For example last night HBO aired the season finale of Game of Thrones which resulted in millions of tweeters obviously saying, “Finally! We can talk about this massive event!”
Except not everyone watched the show when it aired. And in the fine tradition those with DVR’s or with subscriptions to HBO GO took to social media last night to beseech their friends, acquaintances, or random people on their Twitter feed to please, please, please not talk about the show. And in another fine Internet tradition, people immediately took exception to being told what to do online and began arguing about it.
Riveting television shows, divergent TV viewing schedules, and Internet “discussions” dominated by people who can’t go to bed because someone is wrong are not going to go away. But you don’t have to be sucked into the madness, or suffer spoilers on your favorite TV shows.
Read on for some suggestions on how to avoid the spoiler aspects of social media.
On average spoilers last about one week for movies, and considerably less for TV. What this means is that spoilers will appear on social medial sites very quickly once the TV show or movie has aired. The tweeting for a new movie can go on for a week after premiering and a day or so after a TV episode has aired.
The best way to avoid spoilers on social media is to forsake the social dimension of watching TV, and go offline until you’ve had a chance to catch up. I know this is difficult but it can pay off especially for shows like Game of Thrones & Mad Men.
However, sometimes your job requires you to check in regularly on social media or you just can’t help yourself. Even then, the responsibility is still on you to filter out or screen content that you don’t want to see. You can do this by unfollowing people on Facebook or Twitter, hiding people on Facebook, sorting your Twitter feed into lists of people talking about pop culture versus those who don’t, or hiding tweets based on hashtags. Third-party Twitter applications will usually let you create filters that block out specific hashtags.
If all this seems like a lot of work simply do what I did with “Star Trek into Darkness“. Whenever you stumble upon comments regarding the episodes of shows you have not watched, stop, don’t read the post and move on quickly. This self control can be difficult I admit but it is the most sure way to not spoil your favorite TV shows or upcoming movies.
Finally you must accept the new spoiler situation. Know that filtering by hashtag or blocking streams only works if other people are playing by the rules—and, as we all know, enforcing any rules online is a loser’s bet. Also accept that you will get hit by stray spoilers in any social media space. So find something else to read if the comments are discussing a TV show or movie you have not seen yet.