Schadenfreude and social media

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Do you delight in the misfortune of others? That is exactly what schadenfreude means. Not that you would cause anyone harm, but does hearing about a friend’s problems or failure make you feel better?  If it does you are not alone. And if you drag your feet to support a friend’s new venture or congratulate them, your feelings are normal. But ask yourself why? 

A recent article in The Atlantic reported, “Like many things, our online activity – including whose profiles we choose to view – is dictated in large part by our moods. New research suggests that there’s a flip side to Marche’s social media-induced melancholy: For those feeling down in the dumps, Facebook and similar sites can also offer a nastily satisfying pick-me-up.”  The article also added, “A study recently published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior found that when people feel bad about themselves, they’re more likely to look up the people in their networks who seem to be doing worse”. 

I can’t say I was surprised studies about the negative effects of social media are not new. I don’t think everyone goes on line just to make negative comparisons. But if you are feeling that way it is time to look at how you are spending your time and your own life.  Schadenfreude never made anyone happier, thinner, or richer. And as my very wise yoga teacher John Merideth reminded me too much time on social media is not very good for anyone either! 

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Gracey Hitchcock

Editor, DolceDolce

Follow me @graceysays

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