The internet, in all its glory and wonder, has the particular ability to be quite a den of “spoilers”. People or organizations can post just about anything up on the web, and often it is information that isn’t common knowledge, and sometimes that’s because it wasn’t necessarily designed to be broadcasted to the entire world at once. The original idea behind this topic and blog sparked from a conversation with my friend and co-worker Dom, who began to tell me how annoying it was that Yahoo was posting front page headlines about Olympic winners, but doing it based on the air times and schedule for the first US airings. These happened to be the east coast and left many Pacific Standard Time Yahoo users in a state of disappointment, having many of their favorite or at least anticipated events ruined, knowing the outcome already.
It’s a funny thing to think about. The exact kind of headline we have become accustomed to and even might prefer in many cases – one that is short, specific, and gives you the “punchline” – is pretty much the worst kind of headline to have for a scenario with which the outcome is hotly anticipated, and especially where not everyone across the United States even has the ability to even see things without a delay. The Olympics are a big thing for a lot of Americans, and I could pretty easily see it being jading knowing the results of something you were waiting to watch for the first time.
There is light at the end of the tunnel though. After a short amount of time Yahoo either realized the error of their ways or people complained openly about it because things are different now. Now the headlines are much more geared around being a teaser, with any actual results being one-click away, not something you could accidentally stumble upon just from their front page.
The moral of the story? Never forget the power the internet has to reach a large audience at once, and how that might not always be the ideal way for information to be disseminated. There can certainly be times and applications (like with our dear friend Yahoo) where either a delay or an extra step is implemented to protect time-sensitive information.