The Internet is dark and full of spoilers… That sentiment is perhaps never more true than on Sunday nights, which has become the premier night for television viewing. The bulk of the “water cooler” moments happen on Sundays. The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, True Blood, and more deliver/ed non-stop WTF moments that bring audiences together. And also have the power to rip them apart.
Dramatic? Perhaps, but I've seen a number of relationships sustain serious damage as a result of one friend revealing a key moment in a television episode or movie before the other had a chance to experience it for him or herself.
There are those rare monsters who take great pleasure in spoiling things for others — you know who you are, Game of Thrones book readers. For the most part, though, spoilers are increasingly tricky in this culture because most of us have widely divergent levels of sensitivity. And the rules are ever fluid.
Twitter has become our collective gathering place for television viewing. Live-tweeting an episode is a ritual for many, and a way to connect with others who share your passion. It's thrilling to experience something powerful in the same moment as thousands of others do. Hashtags have become the way to connect and also to protect yourself from any unwanted reveals. You can mute a hashtag if you don't want to see what people are saying about a given episode.
Or, as Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams believes, it's now the user's responsibility to stay off social media if one doesn't want to the particulars of a given episode revealed during the tweet frenzy that accompanies our most popular shows.
Entertainment sites have wildly different policies in this regard as well. There is one well-renowned publication (that shall not be named) that is by far the most egregious when it comes to posting spoilers in headlines. They called out the goriest of details of the Red Wedding about five minutes after the east coast feed had concluded. On the other hand, a site I used to work for was pathologically sensitive about spoilers. If I so much as said, “this episode was heartbreaking” our higher-ups would panic.
There's no perfect way to do this, and often it's a matter of taste.
In a culture when the rules for how to avoid spoilers is constantly changing, Drew McWeeny and Roth Cornet talk about where they land on the debate.
Take a look in the video player above or below and chat with us here or on Twitter.