For the first time in years, I’m considering taking a sabbatical from Twitter. Okay, not really — let’s not get melodramatic here. But only three days into the London 2012 Olympic Games, I am beyond frustrated with the spoilers that are hijacking my timeline. I bet the Ancient Greeks didn’t have to deal with this….
I knew that Ryan Lochte would take Gold in the 400 IM while Michael Phelps would be absent from the podium. I knew that Jordyn Wieber would be crushed by not qualifying for the All-Around Gymnastics finals. Heck, I even knew that Jake Kaminski would win silver in archery!
For the next two weeks, social media will act as one giant spoiler, and not everybody is happy about it.
Until this year, few paid attention to the time delay of Olympic coverage. We watched the events during primetime, no questions asked.
That is, until social media allowed for real-time Olympics. Between the prominence of social media and the instantaneous nature of news, we know the results before we see the events. We know what to expect. There is no guessing game.
Frankly though, I don’t care. Even though I know the results ahead of time, I still find myself screaming at the TV for Lochte to kick. I still find myself tearing up as Jordyn Wieber realizes her dreams will not come true. And I still find myself cheering as loudly as ever for Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh-Jennings. But let’s get serious — tons of television viewers (this writer included) seek out spoilers themselves, eager to know the results of shows such as the Bachelorette, only to find themselves still sucked into the manufactured TV romances, tuning in every week to watch the drama unfold.
I guess what I’ve realized is this: yes, the social media spoilers take a bit of the suspense out of the Olympic games. But there are some things that are so highly anticipated and so culturally significant that they can’t be shaken. So what if we know what happens? These games provide the best competition in the world, and we’d be crazy to let a few tweets detract from that.