Keeping the mystery alive in a world of social media



On Monday, I was fortunate enough to find a free night to spend the evening with my dearest friend and see one of our most anticipated sequels ever. Having spent many an evening (like, I would guess, most 30-something women we know) drinking wine, eating our body weight in chocolate and laughing at the misfortunes of the hilarious but totally endearing character of Bridget Jones in her other two films – Bridget Jones’s Diary in 2001 (can you believe it was that long ago?!) and Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason in 2004, both adapted by the popular novels from Helen Fielding, we had high expectations of the latest film released earlier this month.

Having seen the trailer, read the hype and followed the social engagement, we knew the plotline is based on Bridget’s dilemma of who, from two recent flings, is the father of the baby she is expecting. But, of course, we had no interest in knowing the answer to this until we’d seen the film.

However, with social media awash with buzz around the film, Facebook friends posting about their opening night cinema visits, Twitter full of reviews and opinions, the film premier having already taken place and the hashtag campaign in full swing over who the public wanted it to be – #definitelydarcy or #totallyjack – it was worrying…no, actually, terrifying (for us hardy fans at least!), that the likelihood of us coming across a spoiler was almost inevitable, ruining the anticipation and magic for us. After all, ask me what the Christmas and New Year bombshell Eastenders storylines will be for this year and I can tell you in an instant having seen the media and social hype already. If you record any of the reality shows, or even save the F1 to watch that evening, it’s more than likely you will see something about who got voted off, or who won or spectacularly crashed out. It feels at times, unavoidable.

On the one hand though, isn’t that they beauty of social media? People taking to the feeds to offer their views and engage with others, the ability to find information quickly when required, an opportunity for the marketing bods to promote their film or series and generate interest. It’s there, to be used, to be populated and we’re all on it.

It occurred to me though, having now seen the film and reflected on just how much I enjoyed it, that anticipation throughout watching it of not knowing and wanting the big reveal to come, that I’d actually not seen a spoiler. Granted, I’d not verbatim Googled it but even in following the social conversation, there appeared to be somewhat of an unwritten rule that you just don’t tell the secret. Don’t reveal who it is and spoil it for others. Let them experience the excitement of the reveal just as you have. Having done a quick Google search, there seem to be many articles out there on social media etiquette and when it might be socially acceptable to share spoilers (mostly around Game of Thrones, it must be said!)

It got me to thinking though, that in a world with information so readily available instantaneously in our hands at the click or swipe of a screen, my experience in this case showed that there is still some form of moral code among the ‘humans’ in us that keeping some element of mystery alive is still the very best way to get enjoyment out of something you and others find exciting.

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