Spoilers are harsh. They are easily heard but never unheard!
Looking forward to a show or film for months can be instantly ruined with an image or word, completely shattering something that you didn’t know was coming. We’ve all felt that feeling, sitting through a film when you already know the plot twist… not enjoyable!
Spoiler culture is upon us. Social media is ripe with spoilers, recently from latest Avengers installment. This means it’s becoming more accepted among fans to ruin, spoil or openly discuss plot twists without any concern for the people who may not want to know.
The act of spoiling a film or a television show can be seen as a form of pre-textual poaching. This involves stealing content and releasing key plot points, set movement and opposing publicity plans of media organisations.
I am a Game of Thrones (GOT) lover, The HBO television epic is arguably the best tv show created. If you have watched the show then you know what I mean, and you would also know the roller-coaster narrative that it follows. Following several complex character strains GOT unfolds in an unpredictable spiral leading viewers (yourself) in shock and speculation after every episode, meaning falling behind can lead to unavoidable spoilers across social media.
A show such as Thrones relies on the unknown, anything can and will happen. To say anymore would be a spoiler. HBO, the media organization responsible for GOT, is no stranger to spoilers, losing scripts and episodes to hackers before the show has even premiered. This has seen hackers and fans leak set photos, actors’ locations, and episodes prematurely integral to the narrative, spoiling the whole experience for millions of viewers.
However, HBO is now attempting to fight back against spoiler culture while filming the final season of GOT. Last year, CEO of HBO’s programming Casey Bloys revealed that the media organization would film multiple versions in the finale giving leaked spoilers no certainty, leaving audiences with no definitive answers until the season finale airs.
Spoiler culture has driven many other TV shows and media organizations to follow along in a bid to allow their audience the full experience. TV Shows such as The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, Lost and Stranger Things have all used different techniques in order to guarantee spoiler free episodes for their viewers. To deter hackers and fans, producers use a range of techniques including leaking fake scripts, creating fake names and episodes, even going as far as to release fake spoiler trailers.
Spoilers not only affect the media organisations, but inclusively affect the enjoyment of a film or TV show. With research from J. Benjamin from the University of Amsterdam finding, unspoiled narratives were considered more fun and suspenseful then spoiled. Adding more enjoyment overall.
But speculation is always fun. Debating and questioning theories on what could happen is a common conversation had by groups of fans everywhere. Believe it or not, there are entire YouTube channels and fan-created pages specifically dedicated to theories and speculations. Whatculture is my personal favourite.
Living in a social media world has changed the way we communicate. Spoiler images and videos can be flashed in front of our eyes without permission. Social media allows anyone to post anything without immediate restrictions. Spoilers can be uploaded and seen within seconds.
Media organizations such as HBO are attempting to combat spoiler culture themselves but it ultimately falls on the public to avoid posting spoiler content.
Films and TV are made to be enjoyed, providing an experience to every viewer. We have all had something spoiled it’s not fun, so why spoiler something for someone else.
Don’t be a spoiler.