Spoiler alert! Don’t spoil me! Spoiler-free zone. These phrases have been bandied about since the beginning of the Internet, but it seems lately, spoilers have really gotten a bad rap.

Don’t know what a spoiler is? Urban Dictionary defines spoiler as “when someone reveals a previously unknown aspect of something which you likely would have rather learned on your own.” Spoilers apply to everything: books, TV shows, movies, video games, even apps. It does not seem to matter what the medium is, there is always someone crying foul on spoilers.

I happen to fall into the camp that does not give a fig about spoilers. In fact, bring them on. I love knowing what happens ahead of time in books, movies and TV shows. The only time I have actively avoided spoilers is during the original publication of the Harry Potter novels. I wanted to discover on my own what happened to Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, and Ron Weasley. It would have killed me to have someone ruin that experience for me. However, everything else? The more I know the better.

I am currently hooked on Game of Thrones and I have been eagerly reading various Westeros wikis about what happens to those characters. But the real conundrum though comes in the conversations I have about books and TV. How much to share? Am I speaking with a spoiler-phobe? NPR tackles a different topic (but which speaks to spoilers nonetheless) in their article “The Downside of Flexibility: A Plea for Must-See TV at a Must-Watch Time” :

“But these same people are unsure what kinds of conversations they are allowed to have about an “all at once” show. It’s one thing to say that I had to miss last week’s episode of Girls because my cable was out. It’s another thing altogether to say that I am only halfway through a series run, while my barstool companion is perhaps finished already and eagerly awaiting the promised season two.”

For teens, some spoiling may come courtesy of Tumblr. I know many of the Tumblr blogs I follow are heavy posters of gif sets which may include scenes that just aired not even an hour ago or just scenes of an episode I haven’t watched yet. It can be difficult to live a spoiler-free life anymore, though certainly many people try.

Have spoilers been an issue at your library when you’re talking with your teens about a favorite book series or TV show? Or comparing The Host book to how it was adapted for the movie? It really comes down to knowing an individual and where their “spoiler line” is. Which means, in the best sense of the professional spirit, we (as librarians) get the chance to converse with our teen customers and to find out what they like and don’t like.

Spoilers may be just the beginning of the dialog between teens and librarians.

2 Thoughts on “Trendspotting: Spoiler Alert!

  1. Mickie on April 19, 2013 at 9:05 am said:

    This spoiler issue has been under my skin! I don’t give a fig about spoilers either and I get irritated that I’m continually being shushed in conversations and social media because someone in the discussion is behind. Most teens I talk to are DYING for the spoiler…and I think they are doing it right. We can’t stop the world to let everyone catch up and why should we? Dive in–and enjoy where ever you surface.

  2. I definitely agree the constant “shushing” about spoilers gets to be annoying. That’s why you don’t go on Twitter or Tumblr for a few days until you catch up on episodes. I have teens who are more protective of book spoilers than other media spoilers so I’m always cautious about what I say about a book series. Some teens are just discovering Divergent and I certainly don’t want to ruin that for them. I agree though, it’s way too easy to become sensitive about spoilers. Somethings you just have to let go and enjoy anyway.

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