Is Social Media Ruining TV Watching? Discuss.

18 June 2012 by

Mad Men Season 5

Hello, my name’s Morwenna and I don’t have Sky. I do, however, have access to Twitter and Facebook, and follow numerous reliable, social media-utilising news sites like the Daily Mail and Buzzfeed - all great mediums without which I couldn’t do my job, but mediums which actively deploy spoilers and have collectively - cruelly - destroyed my life.

For those without access to Broadband, a typical tweet-spoil reads thus: first comes the uncensored shock-tweet, usually involving a smattering of OMGs and emoticons. Then comes the stampede to turn said event into a joke or pun, swiftly followed by a discussion of the event. By now those without Broadband are up to speed and minutes later, your entire feed is riddled with spoilers at which point there’s nothing to be done that to accept the situation. Or, if you’re me, have a rant about how social media is ruining my viewing pleasure.

You see I love twitter. I also love Mad Men. And even though I haven’t seen a second of the new series, I know every single twist and turn. I’d like to blame colleagues but I cant. Our water cooler is in the kitchen so, as a preventative measure, I just don’t eat. I also took rigorous measures to avoid having it ruined - every Tuesday night, between 9 and 10, I would turn off my wifi, make some cheese on toast and watch my Community boxset. And yet somehow, because I look at the internet, I know everything that happened. Every. Single. Thing. And I’m livid.

I’d like to exclusive blame Twitter but in actual fact, it’s the entire media. Like the Sunday I missed Homeland but was oh so thoughtfully filled in by friends on Facebook. Or the weekend when, halfway through my boxset of The Wire, the Guardian ran details of the murder of one of the key characters. Before I’d seen it.

Dissenters say we’re making too much of a fuss. One blogger for the NY Times that ‘if you love “The Wire” so much that you’d be angry to find out who died before the DVDs get released, it’s time to pony up for HBO.’ To which my response is: ‘not my house, babe’.

Then there’s the paradox of suspense – an actual psychological occurrence which explains that even if we know **** is going to die, we still want to watch it. Utter twaddle.

I’m sure I’ve been guilty of Spoil-Tweeting. I mean to not respond to certain key events – tennis dramas, Breaking Bad twists and so on – is just unthinkable. Ditto live television for which Twitter to Twitter chatter doubles up as a real-time chatroom. But know this: I have seen Girls. And I won’t tweet a word. Why? Because you’ve all ruined Mad Men S5 and god forbid you should feel this pain.


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