A web encyclopedia for all things “LOST”, and the problem of spoilers
In Convergence Culture, Henry Jenkins dedicates the entire first chapter to the anatomy of a knowledge community in “Spoiling Survivor.” He writes, of the popular reality TV show Survivor, that :
“Every week, the eagerly anticipated results are fodder for water cooler discussions and get reported as news, even on rival networks. Survivor is television for the Internet age–designed to be discussed, dissected, debated, predicted, and critiqued”
Though Survivor is still going strong, now in its 20th season, other shows can also be seen as television for the Internet age, though really, what form of entertainment these days isn’t “for the Internet age?” An example of such a program is ABC’s Lost, now in its sixth and final season. With a slotted finale date of May 23rd, 2010, in which ABC will air five whole hours of Lost footage, fans have long awaited the conclusion of the series, and the answers that are bound to come with it. Lost, a show which centers largely on mysteries, clues, and supernatural concepts such as whispering ghosts and time-travel, has led fans to speculate about each new mystery that will be solved and each new question that must be answered. One of the most prevalent sites on which fans gather is Lostpedia.com, an encyclopedia of sorts dealing with all things Lost-related. On Lostpedia, fans can post hypotheses and theories on forums, correspond with other avid fans, or find out key facts, cultural references, and clues about the show.
How then, do avid Lost fans that may have to (believe it or not) miss an episode, avoid spoilers when web encyclopedias dedicated to solving the program’s mysteries exist, frequented by all die-hard Lost fans? Well, we be careful. On the top of the Lostpedia homepage, a spoiler warning appears so that fans who may not be all caught up do not read any further and ruin major revelations for themselves. Avoiding spoilers via social media, however, is slightly more difficult. The abundance of facebook status updates and tweets pertaining to Lost this evening (Tuesday) indicate that something major happened in the last episode. When people share their outraged or shocked reactions, they should be sure to include a spoiler warning, for poor souls like myself who must wait until the episode becomes available on Hulu to speculate about further revelations!