Etiquette experts tell Moneyish when it’s safe to share spoilers on Twitter, in the gym and in the office.
Spoiler alert: not everyone is watching “Game of Thrones’ at the same time.
Just because a record 16.1 million people tuned into the “Thrones” season seven premiere, and about 10 million Americans illegally streamed or downloaded the epic HBO fantasy series based on George R. R. Martin’s books, doesn’t mean we’re all on the same page.
In the age of watch-when-you-want digital streaming, some people opt to get their Westeros fix until later in the week. And even on Sunday nights, viewers on the west coast are three hours behind those watching in the east, so tweeting about who died or who reunited in real time can ruin the twist for someone casually checking their feed before the show airs in their time zone.
And on Monday mornings, there’s a safe bet that several of your coworkers haven’t had a chance to watch yet – so blurting out a plot point can spoil the experience for your colleague – not to mention the random person standing in line behind you both at Starbucks.
So how long should you wait to dish about “GoT” at the office, in the gym or on the subway? When can you post on Facebook versus on Twitter? And how long should a “Thrones” fan who hasn’t watched yet reasonably expect everyone else to keep their mouths shut?
Moneyish tasked a couple of etiquette experts to craft the ultimate no-spoilers guide to discussing “Game of Thrones” without waking the dragon in your friends, family and coworkers.
DURING THE SHOW
Tweet away! Kate Zabriskie, etiquette expert at Business Training Works, Inc., notes that Twitter is a real-time experience where the fun comes from reacting to live events. “Facebook and Twitter are an opt-in world,” she said – so if you’re unable to watch the episode at Sundays at 9 p.m. EST, or you’re in a later time zone, it’s on you to avoid spoilers by staying off social until you catch up.
Be vague. Or be Twitter-considerate by posting something that piques your followers’ interest without giving anything away. “Say things like, ‘OMG, that one scene was so unreal,’ or ‘I couldn’t believe what Khaleesi did in that one scene!’” says Leonard Kim, author of “The Etiquette of Social Media.” If someone responds, you can continue the convo privately in direct messages without ruining it for others.
But don’t spoil it on Facebook. Daniel Post Senning, great-great grandson of Emily Post and a co-author of “Emily Post’s Etiquette,” points out that people prefer looking at photos and checking on loved ones through the slower-paced Facebook – so don’t spoil the ep on your timeline unless you want to be unfriended IRL. “Don’t give anything at all away with your Facebook posts,” Post Senning says, suggesting you put a “spoiler alert” at the top of your status update. Or chat with a group of friends over Messenger while you watch together.
THE NEXT DAY
Don’t broadcast the big twist. “Don’t run around wearing a sign or some t-shirt you made with the big reveal,” says Post Senning. And if you feel the need to strike up a conversation with your Uber driver or barista about what happened on “Thrones” last night, ask if they’ve seen the episode first.
Actually, ask everyone if they’ve seen it first. “Assume nothing,” says Zabriskie, who suggests opening with, “Before I jump in about ‘Thrones,’ is anybody not caught up?” before diving into an episode analysis. And if you haven’t seen it, speak up and politely ask your colleague to zip it until you’ve had a chance to watch. You’ve got a 48-hour window where you can reasonably expect everyone else to keep quiet. “After that point, the watchers should have moved on to something else anyway,” she said.
If someone hasn’t seen it, don’t ‘hint’ about it. “You are not creative enough to keep the secret and still talk around it,” warns Post Senning. “You will give it away. Or, even just hinting there’s a twist, or going ‘just wait until the last 10 minutes!’ still ruins the surprise.”
Keep your voice down. If you and a friend want to dish about the show in public, that’s your right – but speak quietly. Don’t shout across the office, or broadcast your conversation so that the entire gym or subway car can hear you. “General courtesy calls for speaking in a reasonable volume where people around us can easily tune us out anyway,” says Post Senning.
Take ‘GoT’ gossip outside. Better yet, wait until lunch to go talk about it with your coworkers. Or duck into an empty conference room or quiet corner of the office, instead of speaking where everyone can hear. “The conversations should be quick and quiet [and in your spare time] for another reason anyway – you’re supposed to be working,” notes Zabriskie.
© 2017 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved