Spoiler Alert!

While this post may not contain any intended spoilers, all of your social media definitely will. In an age where everyone wants to be included and at the forefront of information sharing, it makes it difficult to fall even moments behind on any trending topic. With Game of Thrones finally back in action, memes and tweets have incessantly followed suit. The season 8 premiere, the shows final running season, aired Sunday April 14th. With 17.4 million viewers tuning in……and over 5 million tweets on the subject. The website was so flooded by Game of Thrones reactions that the top 10 global trends that night focused around content about the show. This makes it difficult to peruse any type of social media platform without seeing a relatable meme from the episode and chances are at least one person you know tweeted or retweeted something about the show.

This demonstrates the dedicated fanbase, it also creates a sort of cool kids club, with those watching holding something over those who haven’t. While it’s easy to say just discuss the show with whoever you’re watching with or wait until someone you know has also watched the show, we’re human and wanting to blurt out the crazy thing that happened in hopes that one of your followers also watched the show and will either have answers or a shared excitement in what happened. Don’t.

I began Game of Thrones a couple months ago, self-admittedly taking a bit too much time to get hooked, and ended up on season 7 episode 7 at the same time that season 8 premiered for the world. Knowing I was an episode behind, my phone was completely off the table until I was up to date on the episode happenings. For most watchers, keeping off social media is the most fool-proof way to avoid spoilers however this is a big ask with our constant connection to the online world. If this proves tough for you or you’re unable to catch up within hours of a shows release, there are some other solutions to beat unwanted pesky spoilers.

For Game of Thrones specific spoilers, the chrome extension GameofSpoils completely blocks any mention of the shows title or related terminology to keep your browser free of spoilers. It currently works on Facebook, Reddit, Twitter, and Google News for the safety of your viewing pleasure. There is even the option to reveal the hidden posts if you let your curiosity get the better of you and have to know right away, while giving you 3 seconds before revealing if you decide to change your mind last minute. Certain apps for general spoiler avoidance include Tumblr Savior, Open Tweet Filter and Unspoiler do the same things for other shows and topics. Twitter allows you to mute certain words on its own site which could also be a route to take to avoid spoilers.

Using these types of programs can assure you won’t find spoilers on social media, but this does not keep you safe from random automated text messages. Spoiled.io created automated service will send a spoiler for $0.99 an episode to any number you input, completely ruining the episode for your desired recipient. This brings spoilers to a new level, completed targeted at specific viewers rather than getting ruined with the comfort of the rest of the internet. Creators of the app say they made it after a woman got back at her ex-boyfriend by spoiling the previous nights episode every week.

Apparently, I’m not the only person worried about spoiling and getting spoiled as a new trend of meme has emerged, spoilers without context. I’ve seen hundreds of these pop-up in light of both the new GoT season and the final Avengers movie. People have begun sharing stock photos or older memes that relate to themes in the episode or movie that do not give things away since they are out of context. To the non-viewer, they just look like a collection of bizarre photos that should have nothing to do with each other but if you’re in on the knowledge they unlock another level of joke. I personally find this to be the best way to defeat spoilers without completely shutting down people from ever tweeting about shows as that’s never going to happen. It adds an air of mystery and intrigue for people who haven’t seen it yet still feeding the meme hungry population that is completely up-to-date.

While this has been mainly about Game of Thrones, I find myself regularly shying away from social media after finale shows such as the Bachelor or my personal favorite, Survivor. There’s even a guy called ‘Reality Steve’ whose job is to get information on most of the highly watched reality shows and release spoilers such as who goes home what week and who the winner is in the end. This is an easier avenue to avoid but still shows how enthralled our society is with knowing things first and constantly having information at our finger tips. No one wants the ending ruined for them and social media has upped the ante on being on top of important pop culture knowledge. We’ve all definitely sideway, half glanced at our screens while scrolling trying to detect right away if something contains a spoiler. With these new programs in place and hopefully friends who care about more than pranks, you’ll be able to scroll happily without spoilers. To some degree at least….

What is your favorite spoiler trick and do you think there’s anyway for social media to work against spoilers, or are we officially ruined in this age of social media sharing?

12 comments

  1. I think the spoiler culture is really interesting. It highlights the shift in content consumption and the “feeling of missing out” phenomenon. As the spoiler culture becomes more pervasive, it creates a more attentive audience, as they develop an emotional investment. This investment results in people tuning in to see the show when it premiers rather than record it and watch it later. I recently read a Forbes article that cited a clinical psychologist who said spoilers actually only have a “small effect on enjoyment.” In the article, the author also quoted Stephen King, the author of Game of Thrones, “If ya don’t like it, don’t look.” His perspective demonstrates how simple watching tv could and should be, but also overlooks all of the new technologies you shared that are designed specifically to spoil different tv shows.

    1. *George RR Martin

  2. This post couldn’t have come at a more perfect time, especially with the final season of Game of Thrones starting back up a few weeks ago and Avengers: Endgame coming out this Thursday. With social media, it’s pretty much near impossible to completely avoid spoilers, but it’s also possible for people to just scroll by them. That being said, it seems like some people’s willpower to do this is much stronger than others… People use social media to share their thoughts, ideas and feelings all the time and I don’t think that they should have to censor comments being made about a show or movie once it is readily available to the public. On the other hand, I’m not a fan of when people share spoilers after attending an early screening of something and take away from the experience for those who have to wait until it is released to the general public. I think it’s great that there are things that exist to help block spoilers for those that need them, but until I get to that point, I’ll just keep scrolling by them.

  3. This is amazing! I had no idea these apps existed to block info about shows. I could have definitely used this during Bachelor season! On the part of the developers, this is an insanely smart move because avoiding spoilers is definitely a need I know I have but I assumed a solution wasn’t possible. It’s also a very petty move on the part of the entrepreneurs who made a texting service to deliver spoilers – and also an extremely profitable one because I know at least a handful of people who would pay well over $0.99 to spoil a show for someone. Wow, the internet really does think of everything

  4. My favorite trick is to plain just avoid social media in general when my favorite popular shows are on. I am a huge Big Brother fan and in the summer it is very easy to find spoilers given that some pay for the 24/7 feed to the house. I have heard of some of these spoiler blocking programs which make sense, but to me that seems too far, I won’t be that upset if I find out. I know lots of fans of Reality Steve and wonder how he keeps up with so many shows, imagine having that job. Social media is bound to always have spoilers my sense is why go the extra distance to block them out.

  5. Has anybody seen the episode of How I Met Your Mother where they try to watch the SuperBowl a day late without finding out the winner before watching?? They wear soundproof headphones while at work, stay inside as much as possible, and create blinder goggles with tiny holes so they can go downstairs to get food — the o.g. spoiler techniques! But anyway, I totally agree with Allie that spoiler culture has had a huge effect on the way we consume tv as we increasingly shift towards on-demand streaming services instead of live tv. FOMO definitely does wonders for streaming services’ business. Think of how people buy Netflix, Hulu, and HBOGo just so they’re not left out of the culture phenomenon of a single tv show. Further, the opportunity to watch whenever you want allows you to binge, but also means there’s a greater chance you’ll be behind on a show and leave yourself vulnerable to spoilers. I have to admit I don’t have too much sympathy for people who complain about GOT spoilers, true fans plan their Sundays around the show! If you’re not that dedicated, a little spoiling won’t kill you!

  6. This is one of the strangest phenomenons, this fear of spoilers due to social media, but honestly it’s a real thing. The first 2 episodes of GOT were more reunions and plot set-ups, so they were not as many spoilers as I’m sure the next few episodes will have. It’s funny though because this is definitely a generational thing. I would not dare, not watching something on time if I did not want it to be spoiled. However, both my parents watch GOT, but never on Sunday night. They don’t like to stay up that late, so they always watch it Monday, during their own convenience. Never once has it been spoiled for them. I envy it haha. I think twitter is the main platform that spoilers are rampant, as well as Instagram. I feel pretty safe using Facebook though.

  7. I LOVE this post! This past week with episode 2 I was both someone affected by the spoilers and the cause of spoiling for a friend- and I only watched it a mere day late! The crazy thing is I avoided social media for that reason, but now with digital journalism trying to compete with social media I read more Arya + Gentry titles in major publications like the Skimm and times that I basically knew what was coming.
    If I had known about the Game Of Spoilers ad-on, I definitely would have tried it, however, as my news is sent to me via email each day I wonder if it would block those until I chose to reveal.

  8. This post was so timely to read, because I wasn’t able to watch Sunday’s episode of Game of Thrones and have tried to avoid spoilers until I have a chance to catch up! Other than a few posts on Instagram from accounts like E News, I have managed to keep most of the episode’s plot unspoiled until I have a chance to watch, but I had no idea there was a chrome extension to block any mention of the show – clearly, this is a topic that people are very passionate about. I do think social media has made it harder to get away with not watching a popular show when it airs, like the Bachelor, because you undoubtedly will see something about what happened in the latest episode as soon as it’s over. With that said, even if you stay off social media, you would have to be mindful of other people around you talking about a show that you missed, so I don’t think there’s any way to guarantee avoiding spoilers.

  9. I loved this post! My roommates and I have been checking twitter after each episode of GoT in order to see the different reactions and theories about the show. I’ve seen a lot of the spoilers without context, which I honestly think are pretty hysterical. Part of the most recent GoT episode was leaked a few hours before it went live. I saw the photos on twitter and didn’t realize what they were until it was too late. The Chrome add on would definitely have been helpful!

  10. Love this. This past week, I couldn’t watch GOT on Sunday so I had to wait until Monday, and I specifically texted several of my friends who I knew would be watching not to tell me anything and I avoided looking at social media, even though I was only watching it less than 24 hours after it premiered. I didn’t know that there was technology in place to detect and block spoilers, and that is very cool, although I’m sure there are some exceptions that still manage to get by the tech.

  11. Well, this is totally brilliant, thank you for bringing this to my attention. While I tend to stay up to date on episodes and don’t follow social media enough to have sows spoiled, I can see how this could pose a huge problem to those attempting to catch up on a series. I am currently facing this with the Avengers series movies. I have never seen any of the Avengers series, however, my girlfriend would like to go see the most recent movie. With a masters thesis due in one week, and graduation just three weeks away, my time is quite limited…especially enough to watch four movies. I will definitely be putting these tools to use and limiting my exposure so I can catch up! Thank!

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: