It’s been a hot subject on my feed, so today I’m going to be talking a bit about the methods of handling spoilers.
Your Responsibility: At Your Own Risk
Some say things like, “just don’t use social media if you’re worried about spoilers”. Naturally, this upsets other people. Who wants to be told what they can and can’t do, especially with their own feed? Let me tell you another example of this as a reference. “Don’t use electronics in the shower.” Can you? Sure! Should you? Definitely not. But no one can force you to not bring your cellphone, toaster, hair dryer, whatever into the bath or shower with you.
In essence, saying “don’t do the thing” is instead saying “We do not recommend you do the thing. IF you do the thing, you’re doing it at your OWN RISK.” It gives a sound suggestion and a reminder of the possible consequences to deal with if you do the thing. It also alleviates the person or company of any responsibility of you having done the thing. In short, don’t come crying to them if the consequences do happen and are too much to deal with. Not that you would in some cases? I dunno.
Anyway, there’s a whole lot of understandably hot feelings over that. In most cases, “don’t use social media” is likely just poorly worded and said with concern towards others. A brief reminder and warning of what you WILL undoubtedly see. Not everyone tags. Not everyone uses the same tags. Some don’t regard things as spoilers that clearly are. Just know what you might see by accident if you continue using it throughout! 🙂
Handling Spoilers – Method #1: Tagging
Many people on social media will be posting screenshots and talking about content that are very clearly spoilers. However, likely most of these people will tag their spoilers to make it easy for others to filter these posts from their own feed. It’s a surefire way of not having to see a lot of stuff you don’t want to!
The downside? You’ll probably see some of it before you can mute things. Out of everyone using the tagging method, not everyone is going to use the same tags either. Nor the same language of tags if you follow people over the world. If you’re going to be posting spoilers, do your best to ensure all or most of those who follow you know you’ll be doing so–and what tags or words you’ll use consistently to mute. Or to outright mute you until they’re done if you won’t tag.
It isn’t the responsibility of your followers to inherently know what tags they’ll need to filter for you. Sure, they’ll need to mute them–but you need to meet them halfway. As the curator of your own feed, it’s your responsibility to your content and to your followers.
Handling Spoilers – Not 100% Effective
I’ve posted a pretty bad spoiler about XIV before which I got hella subtweeted on about. But hey! I screwed up. Even recently I’ve posted tweets that are pretty spoiler-rific in context to Nier: Automata… without the context. I’m definitely not innocent here–and this is why I’m trying my best to push myself towards a different method.
Let’s start by examining what Twitter is and is not. First, Twitter is not a chat room. At 42,000+ tweets I definitely have and will continue to use it as such to some degree, but that’s not its intended purpose. Twitter is an empty void into which you are shouting whatever it is you’re posting. A crowd of people you may or may not know who hear literally everything you blurt out. Professor Oak reminds us that there’s a time and a place for everything. If you have something intensely personal and private to discuss with someone or a small group, social media is probably not the best place for it. That’d be like going to Walmart and shouting at the top of your lungs about that nasty rash where the sun don’t shine.
So what should we do if we want to keep something private? If we have content that we know people won’t want to see, and are aware of that? Tag it? I mean sure–but people can still see it if they choose. And from experience, it doesn’t at all matter what you say or how you say it–but how it’s interpreted. I’ve been on the receiving end of that here in my own daggone blog, and the people telling others to use social media at their own risk were as well. So what, then? What do we do?
Handling Spoilers – Method #2: Private Chat
Well… how about we turn towards private chats? If you’re willing to endure the hassle of coordinating a spoiler hashtag, I can ensure you that making a private chat for it isn’t any harder.
First, Twitter has Group DMs now. You can set up a group DM with your friends and others who want to discuss spoilers. In this sense, you’re still tweeting about spoiler content–without needing to tag it nor any worries!
Second, there’s chat programs like Discord. It’d be very simple to setup a Discord server and pass out the link specifically stating both in sharing the link and all around the server that it’s for expansion spoilers. In this sense, anyone who has the link is free to join. And anyone who joins is doing so knowing full and well what they’re getting themselves into. If they complain, that’s their own darn fault at that point!
Finally, if we’re using a Discord server–this is also a pretty fantastic method to build a community. To meet new friends and possibly even venture off onto greater things. You’re not as likely to get that camaraderie when you’re shouting about cool things into the void compared to discussing cool things with others in a more intimate setting.
Pick Something and Roll with it
With both methods you’re not preventing yourself from being on social media to keep up with friends. I feel it’s super important to do so! Just remember that social media is not a “safe space”. It is not a vacuum wherein you can freely control everything everyone posts to avoid ever seeing things that bother you. You can command it to a great degree, but only in… moderation after-math and hopeful preparation sorts of ways.
Know that by using social media during a big release that you and many you follow are interested in, you’re risking seeing spoilers no matter how hard you and others try. That isn’t a warning to stay off of it, but a harsh and unfortunate reminder. Not everyone cares about filtering what they post. If you do–I hope you’ll use one of these methods or something I haven’t thought of posting in order to keep the peace. 😀
When to Break the Seal
Eventually word is going to get out about spoilery content. Things like “Snape killed Dumbledore” and “Aladdin frees Genie”. C’mon now, know you can’t hold back the tide forever. It’ll drive you crazy just trying to do so.
The method I rely on is pretty much, “If the company releases it for free and easy public viewing, it no longer counts as a spoiler”. SquareEnix showed us quite a lot in that Stormblood trailer, but there are too few details connected together to get anything more than speculative thoughts right now. Then there was the fiasco in a Heavensward patch trailer featuring the death of a character that got huge heat. More or less go by your heart, but if in doubt–review how they’re handling it and fine-tune from there if it’s still too much for you to openly discuss.
Let’s keep that Stormblood hype train going full steam! Happy adventuring~