As someone who is obsessed with pop culture and all things entertainment, being super-active on social media kind of goes hand in hand. I am a Twitter addict, love Instagram and Tumblr, and now I have this blog! And of course I have a Facebook but it’s been overrun by the parents and the baby boomers, so I mostly avoid it. Actually, the only time I really find myself going to Facebook is to catch up on Stephen Amell’s posts (if you aren’t following his Facebook, I don’t know what you’re waiting for).
Twitter is by far my favorite, since you can rant and rave about things as much as you want, find out news as soon as it happens, and interact with people who are interested in and talking about the same things as you are.
So why do some industries condemn the very things they use as a (basically) free marketing tool?
Look the bottom line is this: social media is both a gift and as I said in the title of this post, a ruination. Hey, I’m a millennial. I’m not saying this as an old person who can’t grasp it and sees it as tearing down society. That’s not what I mean. I mean that for every inspiring charity campaign that is born through social media, there are about 5 dirty rumors in entertainment that are blown out of proportion, or overexposed to ruin the fun for everyone. (Obviously a great charity campaign outweighs pop culture news, but look who’s saying this, me.)
Let’s take the most obvious complaint about social media: SPOILERS.
I see there being two kinds of social media fans: Those who fiend for spoilers, looking for any rumors or scoops they can get, or those who curse social media and despise being spoiled. It is certainly possible to fall somewhere between the two, that’s actually where I would place myself. Although I do love a good tease from one of my favorite TV shows, I don’t want entire scenes and episodes spelled out for me before I see it. And there’s the problem. What’s the fine line?
Many media accounts fail at this. Take one of the most popular shows on air right now: AMC’s The Walking Dead. The show is massive. It averages about 15-17 MILLION viewers per episode. This of course results in a fanbase that is rabid (punny haha) for info about it. However, as popular as the show is, it has pissed a lot of people off by prematurely spoiling episode twists and shockers. This one for example:
In the shocking Season 4 winter finale, Beth, one of the main characters, was killed in its final moments. In an obvious attempt to create immediate, buzzing reactions and conversations on social media, the show’s official Facebook (and Instagram) posted this, titled “RIP Beth,” merely MINUTES after the conclusion of the East Coast airing. Now I know what a lot of people say: “You should avoid social media until you’ve watched it if you don’t want to be spoiled.” But what about the people in different time zones? What about the people who started the episode on their DVRs 10 minutes later because they rushed home to watch the episode? They want to live-tweet as well. And that’s 90% of the show’s marketing, is people talking about it on social media. So you can’t ask people to chat about the show while they are watching it, but don’t read other posts if you don’t want to be spoiled. It’s kind of a double standard.
That’s the kind of social media “spoilers” I’m not a fan of. It’s one thing to go into the #TheWalkingDead hashtag while the episode is going on. You’re asking for spoilers if you’re doing that. But you have to put a certain amount of trust in entertainment news accounts, and especially the OFFICIAL show account, not to give big things away. I can handle folks like Entertainment Weekly tweeting “OMG NOOOOOO #TheWalkingDead” but that’s really the extent it should be.
Enough about my rant on that. Let’s get back to the point of what I was trying to say: oh yeah, hypocrisy. So let’s take some of the big Comic Con reveals from this year, especially those big Marvel and DC superhero leaks. Look, there’s been talk for years that these “exclusive Comic Con sneak peeks” were meant to be leaked, resulting in more buzz for the films. I can’t say I agree with that theory, I kind of just think that the industry is naive in thinking fan boys and girls WON’T go screaming all over the internet about what they just saw, and you better believe at least one person got that on video. But I’ve really been having a problem with the way studios are producing these movie trailer and sneak peeks as of late. All of the big things about the movie are being revealed in a two-minute trailer. Or directors and stars are taking to social media to send out spoiler-y pictures from set. Like I said before, I don’t mind being leaked a little bit of behind the scenes info, but some of these movies don’t come out for another full year or two, some even MORE. Pop culture junkies such as myself have too many things to keep track of to remember tidbits, so is movie buzz 2 years in advance actually helpful marketing?
Now let’s switch to sports for a minute, and maybe this only seems super prevalent to me because I am a die-hard New York Mets and overall baseball fan. As a Mets fan, I’ve seen some pretty stupid, messed up, and pathetic things. But last night’s clusterf**k might have taken the cake. For those of you who know nothing about baseball, tomorrow is the trade deadline. And as pathetic as my Metsies are, they’re actually only 1 game out of first place (as of today). That means they’re still actual contenders. Our main problem this season has been run production. They just don’t want to score for their #1 pitching staff. So the Mets have been shopping for a big bat from other teams. And news broke yesterday the might have been getting one: Carlos Gomez from the Brewers for one of our injured pitchers Zack Wheeler and our current shortstop Wilmer Flores.
The infamous “#MetsTwitter” was excited about the trade, as the major outlets of ESPN and MLB seemed to have confirm it. But apparently everyone jumped the gun, and poor Wilmer Flores, who was playing shortstop as the news broke, had no idea he was just traded. The crowd was cheering for him up at bat and he had no idea why. When someone finally told him, he got emotional and was even crying at shortstop. This is a guy who signed with the Mets when he was just 16 years old. He is a homegrown Met, so obviously being traded would affect him. However what Twitter didn’t know was that the trade WASN’T a done deal, so the masses were outraged that they were leaving him in the game while he was like this. Later in the night, everyone finds out the deal is off, and he is staying. The Mets front office comes out to say that Twitter jumped the gun and blew this out of proportion. But here we go with hypocrisy again. Obviously some official, credible source of either the Mets or the Brewers reported this to beat writers and the likes. So you really only have to blame yourselves.
So bottom line, I love social media. But things get blown so out of proportion so easily that sometimes you really hate it.
What are your opinions on this subject? Would love to hear!