Three years ago, I blogged about Facebook etiquette dos and don'ts but, in light of an apparent faux pas over the Purple Wedding episode of HBO's Game of Thrones, I realize that I may have neglected mentioning one particular don't a lot of people take very seriously -- spoilers.
(If you're a GOT or Netflix' House of Cards fan, you may want to continue reading this once you're all caught up.)
Recently, after watching two HOC episodes -- the one where Zoe gets turned into subway meat and the other where Frank Underwood goes all Kevin Spacey and has sex with a guy -- I took great pains to avoid spoiling the fun for any of my Facebook friends who hadn't caught up. I posted a few "OMG, OMG!" remarks but left it at that, even though I was dying to commiserate about the show's shocking twists. A month later, however, some were still insisting I keep silent because they hadn't finished watching.
Which raised the question: if a group of fans all know about their favorite show's plot twist and one hasn't made the effort to get up to date, is really fair that they can't enjoy discussing it out of respect for the laggard? I mean, years after The Sixth Sense came out, I still had people tell me "Oh, I haven't seen it yet! Please don't ruin it for me!"
When uber-sadistic brat King Joffrey bled out of his eyes, nose and throat in Season 4, Episode 2 of GOT, I considered not posting about it on Facebook but, (a) it was too damn amazingly juicy, (b) the book version has been out for years so it's hardly a state secret, and (c) it was already 24 full hours after the show had officially aired. I figured, if you're really a fan, you've probably watched it or you're watching now, not crawling through your Facebook feed.
Several friends sent me irritated messages asking how I could have ruined their fun. I acknowledge I should have prefaced the post with "Spoiler Alert" but come on people. One of the most powerful and enjoyable aspects of social media is its immediacy -- the ability to discuss what's happening in the world in real time.
Here, etiquette works both ways. Next time, I'll do my part and include a "Spoiler Alert" warning. But if the show is important enough to you, get your ass off Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and Pinterest and HuffPo and Bloomberg and Angry Birds and all your other 101 apps and watch the next damn episode ASAP.
Finally, if there's one thing fans of Game of Thrones have learned after Ned Stark's beheading and the Red Wedding, it's this: Valar Morghulis -- All men must die. And they sure as hell will.