Featured, Pop Culture, Theory & Essay

Spoilers (and Spoiler Alerts) In The Age of Social Media

Spoiler Alert. There are spoilers in this post about spoilers. Be aware. That’s all I got for you.

So Tommy killed Holly. About damn time. I can’t lie, I’ve been waiting for Holly to die since season one of Power, and as annoyed as I’ve been that she’s made it this long, I’ll take it. And I really didn’t know how I thought she’d go out, I just knew I needed her gone. Thank you, powers that be. That’s a pun.

Oh, that’s a spoiler.

Thing is, it shouldn’t matter at this point because if you spend any amount of time on social media…like ANY…then you saw meme after meme of spoilers about Holly being dead. It wasn’t quite the death of Stringer Bell in season 3 of The Wire (that’s another spoiler that isn’t a spoiler), but hey, it resonated all the same.

Me? I watched the show in real time. I typically block out my Sunday nights to watch Power and then The Night Of, which comes on HBO at the same time as Power, so I DVR it like many people do with the shows they love so that they can do things like live life and attend their children’s activities or do the family thing. Here’s the problem, as a culture, we really like watching these things together. If there’s one thing that we all learned from Scandal, it’s that watching Scandal with Twitter is A LOT better than just watching it for its plot. Communal viewing is just a thing now. So when you decide to live life you have a significant choice to make, fam.

Either you accept that you’re about to find out the key shit you didn’t want to know AS SOON AS you fire up Facebook or you harken back to quieter times, like 2007, and put your fucking phone down and remember what life is like without staring at your phone until you watch the show and see what happens on your own.

There’s no middle ground. It is outright fucking ridiculous to expect everybody that you know on social media to adhere to some arbitrary “be considerate” rule so as to not give away major plot points before you get a chance to see a show. That’s not how social media works. Sure, at this point we all hate spoilers, but if you run up on one, that’s entirely your fault. We all know what shows we don’t want spoiled, right? And we know them because they’re the shows that we are all watching. Typically you would watch in real time if not for that thing you had to do at the place with the people.

But since we’re all attached to our phones, the first thing we do when sitting at stop lights or on the toilet, or wherever, is scroll through various timelines. And if you know that a show you like – because everybody likes it – came on even 20 minutes prior to you hitting that app on your phone, there’s a better than 90 percent chance that SOMEBODY is going to say something that will piss you off about it. Sure, you can hope somebody will put the term “Spoiler Alert” at the beginning so you can quickly avert your eyes but the truth is they don’t owe you shit.

Just like you can put on your timeline anything you damn well please, so can they. Which means that me and you, your mama and your cousin too, pretty much need to suck that shit up. If you don’t want to catch a spoiler, then your monkey ass needs to put down the phone or stay off of the social medias until you watch whatever it is that you’re worried about seeing in the first place.

You can’t police people’s timelines OR expect them to think about you before posting. It’s unreasonable. Don’t put up spoilers. But do make sure you put up a status message indicating your wokeness or awareness about what’s going on in the world to show support for cause A or B or a lack of support for cause C. I personally subscribe to the idea that anybody who tells me what I can or cannot put upon my timeline can eat all of the dicks. However, I do understand where some of it comes from. We use, at least for social justice issues, our social media timelines as means of spreading information and awareness. I get it, if people with a voice don’t use it, it’s almost like condoning the status quo. But if you’re the type of person to use a person’s timeline to fully gauge who a person is, then you’re the problem, not them.

And I mean that.

But spoilers ain’t social justice OR the problem. It’s you and your ilk thinking that people owe you the common courtesy not to immediately do what we all do the other 99 percent of the time we’re on social media: share information about some shit we just saw.

So, you, person who is upset that you found out that Holly was dead before you had a chance to watch Power, too damn bad. Next time, do YOUR part and expect it to happen since it ALWAYS happens, and wait until you watch it to run your timelines.

Because you know what, the news ALSO comes on television.

Panama Jackson

Panama Jackson is pretty fly (and gorgeous) for a light guy. He used to ship his frito to Tito in the District, but shipping prices increased so he moved there to save money. He refuses to eat cocaine chicken. When he's not saving humanity with his words or making music with his mouth, you can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking her fine liquors. Most importantly, he believes the children are our future. You can hit him on his hitter at panamadjackson@gmail.com.

  • TrayBay

    Wait! I thought this post was about spoiler alerts on social media. I didn’t think the first sentence would actually be a spoiler. Damn!

    • panamajackson

      I did that on purpose. Also, this made me laugh SO hard.

      • HouseOfBonnets

        Petty level: 985

        • Bridgetpsmith

          <<fb. ?????????????????????????????????????????????????????::::::!il390r:….,……

      • Well-played, amigo!!! Well-played!

  • miss t-lee

    I just mute everyone.
    Got like 30 people on mute right now for talking about The Get Down the moment it dropped.

  • Dustin John Seibert

    You ain’t s#!@ for this post.

  • maybe i’m using social media wrong…but I never see spoilers

    • Niecy

      No, you’re using it right lol.

  • Glo

    I know people that get upset about spoilers from 2 seasons ago. I’m always like, “Well, you shouldn’t even care about this spoiler because you don’t know who this character is yet.”

    I personally love spoilers. Knowing things makes me feel better. Living on the west coast means all of my east coast friends are seeing these shows 3 hours before I do. Many people see this as a reason to avoid the internet until you get a chance to watch the show, but I feel better being able to go into the episode knowing Jon Snow is going to be brought back to life. TV shows stress me out much less as a result.

    • miss t-lee

      “I know people that get upset about spoilers from 2 seasons ago”

      Stuff like this? No.
      If I wanted to know I would’ve watched already.
      A show that just came out 2 hours ago? We fighting.

      • DeebaCee

        I’m of two minds with the spoilers from 2 years ago. If I’ve told you that I’m just now watching a show from two years ago and am excited about finally catching up and you tell me a spoiler, we gon’ fight. If I’m catching up on that same show and happen to be perusing the interwebs and come across a spoiler… oh welp, that’s on me.

        • miss t-lee

          I can dig this.
          Definitely hard to avoid things online.

    • HouseOfBonnets

      Spoilers saved me from wasting countless weekends on OITNB especially after this week…….I am forever grateful.

      • Question

        This. Spoilers saved me from watching the last 2-3 seasons of a number of shows that went on for too damn long…

      • SororSalsa

        Yes, other people watch shows and spoil me so I don’t have to….

    • LMNOP

      I didn’t realize other people also get stressed about TV shows. I have stopped watching shows because they stress me out too much, and I realize “these are not even real people, I really don’t need to be this stressed about it, let me just stop watching.”

      • Amber

        Me too. I was watching The Invitation on Netflix and had to wiki the ending while watching the movie to calm myself down.

      • Thought I was the only one too! I dont know if this technically qualifies as the same thing or not, but this last NBA championship game 7 I was at work all day with knots in my stomach flat out nervous like I had to play in it later. smh.

      • MsSula

        I told the husband that we need to part ways in our TV show watching. I am no longer watching shows that have me stressed out, pulling out my hair etc… A couple of seasons into The Americans and I took my leave.

        Nowadays, I watch Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, The Great British Bake Off, Braindead and the likes. I will also watch some good ole BMJ when it comes back. But y’all are on your own with these The Night Of, Stranger Things, and all that stressful stuff. Noap.

        • Jennifer

          My roommate is just like you. She walked in the room last night when Tommy was holding Holly’s warm, lifeless body on the TV screen and flatly told me, “that show you’re watching looks intense.” She proceeded to go to her bedroom. Not interested.

          • MsSula

            I like your roommate. Loll.

    • Kas

      If you are letting television shows stress you out, you are doing it wrong.

  • Jas

    I’ve seen people get PISSED and actually unfollow people because of a spoiler. I’m probably in the minority when I say I could care less about spoilers for any shows, movies, books…it doesn’t matter. Finding out what happens before I see or read it doesn’t spoil it for me and sometimes I skip ahead to find out the ending especially when I’m reading a book. Anyway…what I took away from this post is “I personally subscribe to the idea that anybody who tells me what I can or cannot put upon my timeline can eat all of the dicks.”

    I’m a woman so I don’t walk around referencing a body part that I don’t have but I thought that line was pretty funny!! lol Great way to end a work day.

  • HouseOfBonnets

    1. Mute, Unfollow and unsubscribe filters exist for a reason…..Use them in addition to acting like phones don’t exist.

    2. “You can’t police people’s timelines OR expect them to think about you before posting. It’s unreasonable. ” All of this right here!

    3. Also this “I get it, if people with a voice don’t use it, it’s almost like condoning the status quo. But if you’re the type of person to use a person’s timeline to fully gauge who a person is, then you’re the problem, not them.”

    I’ve said it a hundred times the human brain has the ability to focus on multiple things at once as much as some refuse to admit. Everytime we see another injustice or some racial/sexist foolery everyone processes it differently (mentally, spiritually, and physically ) some can stay on the front line and push/sacrifice but others cannot and that’s ok. Even those on the front lines invest in self care/ casual distractions when needed especially on the inter webs where ignorance, hate and stupidity seems to know no bounds. We can converse about Masika, Fetty wap , LHH hollywood, the Olympics and the get down while still keeping the focus on BLM , police brutality and injustice…..our brains give us that capacity.

    Besides just because you tweet doesn’t mean you’re down……we literally just saw this with Korrine Gaines and Cam’s GQ interview.

  • Mizwest

    So basically you saying “F U and Ur Spoiler Gripes n Complaints” Got it, if we don’t like it we can go back to when America was great again, a time prior to social media. LOL, I don’t mind spoiler alerts that much….I’m usually the spoiler offender.

  • OG Mermaid

    I could careless if someone spoils an episode on a popular show; I also don’t have patience so spoilers lowkey give me life. Just don’t give me all the details. For example, you tell me Holly died, cool. Let me go find out how. I don’t need “Holly just died because Tommy killed her in his apartment; he choked her because…etc, etc, etc.” (Sorry not sorry if you haven’t watched yet) Sidenote: This made my mama so mad when her coworker posted the “spoiler”, she told her “Thanks Judas, now where’s the silver and the kiss, snitch.” when she saw her at work on Monday. Mama, no isolated incidents today at work please and thank you. Smh.

  • Another thing…for the life of me I don’t understand. How do people watch tv shows with twitter or whatever else? Whenever I’ve tried to watch a tv show with someone on the phone, we could only really talk on commercial breaks. Then eventually gave that up and always said less discuss when its over. I can’t follow a program and talk to people/read at the same time. Maybe i’m a special needs viewer.

    • HouseOfBonnets

      For shows like Love and hip hop and scandal it’s pretty easy you just gotta have quick fingers, quick wit and use the hashtag lol

      • That’s just so not relaxing for me and soooo distracting . I really enjoy Scandal for instance, I need to be fully focused.

        • Janelle Doe

          i do that too. i need to watch HTGAWM so I can understand ehy everyone is mad at Wes on #datmurda afterwards.

          • ALM247

            Watch it…..the season was soooooo good.

        • ALM247

          Yes, the fast talking on “Scandal” warrants our full attention. If you blink you’ll miss a sentence.

          • LadyJay?

            People still watch scandal?

          • CozyVon

            My closed-captioning STAYS on with Scandal, lol.

    • SororSalsa

      Shoot, Empire was about 1000% more fun with Twitter. I’m not sure I would keep watching that, Scandal or HTGAWM without it.

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