By: Ana Staskevich, Staff Writer
Social media is what links us to the world, but when do we call it too much connection? On one hand, you can send memes to someone across the globe. On the other, the excess is such that you quickly fall behind on things that everyone else seems to be posting about.
And then there’s the information you might not even want to see. Yes: we’re talking about spoilers.
The release of Avengers: Endgame, one of this year’s most anticipated movies, created a lot of paranoia around spoilers on social media. How do you moderate them? How do you avoid them?
But these, of course, are hardly fresh queries. Even at the peak of major film franchises like Harry Potter, a single sentence about the death of an old, important character could ruin the films for diehard fans. There is still a running joke in the fanbase that was once considered a friendship-ending spoiler.
This paranoia makes sense. I mean, I would rather experience something myself for the first time than have it be ruined by a Reddit post I saw during my work break. I even go so far as to mute relevant hashtags and keywords. But it’s hard to regulate all flows of information, especially with the anonymity and freedom that the Internet provides.
Of course, the question becomes: how much time must pass before spoilers are no longer spoilers, but actual discussions of film and content between people?
I think an unspoken rule between moviegoers is that the average time before people can talk about the movie is one to two weeks. It’s definitely my personal spoiler countdown. This time frame lets casual fans visit the cinema at their own pace, rather than prioritizing those lucky enough to get into the premiere. It also gives people time to review and reflect on what they just watched so they can form their own opinions before sharing them. Meanwhile, waiting for longer than two weeks to discuss a film can make people either impatient to talk or indifferent to stale details.
As for tips on how to keep yourself spoiler-free, there’s no one easy solution. Even casually browsing social media during the release of a film is a huge risk to take. Some media platforms like Reddit have diligent users who are downvoting and reporting Endgame spoilers in the film’s opening weeks. That, in my mind, shows a sense of solidarity and understanding between fans. Most people know how annoying it is to find out a major plot twist by accident.
That said, you can’t expect all websites to regulate cyber traffic this way. After all, spoilers aren’t exactly criminal, so you can’t flag them as inappropriate content — even if spoiling’s a pretty shitty thing to do according to Internet etiquette. Spoiler-free spaces can therefore be hard to find.
Personally, I would recommend staying off sites like Instagram where “spoilers without context” you’ll see the most. These are memes with quotes or pictures that give away a movie scene only if you know the plot context. Sites like Tumblr and Twitter you can safely browse if you blacklist certain hashtags, so those get a green light from me.
Maybe the best suggestion of all, though, is to abstain from social interaction and hole yourself up in your room — sounds dramatic, but at least it’s guaranteed.