I have little to complain about when it comes to great, free social media. I don’t mind the occasional selfie that shows up on my Instagram feed. I can ignore the promoted tweets on Twitter. The spelling errors that plague the status updates of my Facebook friends no longer bother me. But there’s one thing I feel that social media has completely destroyed that I will not let slide: the element of surprise.
When I watch a film, tune in to a television show, or read a book, I don’t want any outside force or commentary influencing my opinion of the work. I like to be stunned, shocked, and startled as the original creator intended consumers to be. Social media makes this practically impossible, especially when popular entertainment is involved. In 2013 if someone reads something, sees a movie, or watches a highly-anticipated season finale, there’s a pretty good chance he/she is going to post about it on Facebook or tweet about it incessantly. And there’s a pretty good chance they’re not going to mark these posts with “SPOILERS” or some equivalent. And even if they do, it takes a lot of power to just keep scrolling. Tweets are 140 characters or less. I could accidentally read something of that length and then some movie or book or whatever would be ruined. Why do people feel the need to do this? Can they not watch Breaking Bad or Star Trek Into Darkness without posting the film’s plot points to the Internet?
Star Wars Episode VII is not being released in theaters until December 18, 2015 (That’s 764 days away, but who’s counting?), and I’m already getting blasted with spoilers I’m trying to avoid. Speculation on plot, characters, and even subtitles has been circulating for weeks, and this likely will not stop until the release day in 2015. Just today, casting auditions for the film were held in Chicago. Little to no information concerning anything important about the film was revealed at the auditions, but that does not stop the public from taking guesses, digging deep into the Internet for more information, and posting their theories.
This irritation is not going to draw me away from Twitter, Facebook, or elsewhere. My complaints and pleas are valid (I believe), but it’s unrealistic to think they will ever stop. So I’ll deal, and hopefully those I friend or follow will mark tweets appropriately with “SPOILER ALERT.” Still, I yearn for the days when entertainment was always an event, something that could blow the audience members away and leave them speechless. And I long for a time when the worst thing that could happen was a random jerk ruining a film as he exited the theater.