My Middle Name is Schadenfreude
We all have a bit of this (defined as “largely unanticipated delight in the suffering of another which is recognized as trivial and/or appropriate”) but I think that my internet stalking hobby has made what used to be unanticipated, actually anticipated and actually a little … awful and excessive?
It used to not be strangers. It used to just be trainwrecks I knew from high school, or former colleagues. Between LinkedIn and blogs and Facebook statuses, it was easy. It was amusing to see that chick with five “fiancees” by age 25 or the revolving door of “it’s complicated” to “single” and then “engaged” of friends of friends. It wasn’t the nicest thing of me, but it seemed harmless. Like, going to your 10 year reunion a little bit early. And … every day. We all do it, right?
But once I started getting more into blogging and networks, it got worse. Now it’s not just people I knew, even tangentially – it’s internet strangers. It’s horror shows from the internet, and they just put it all out there. And sometimes they weren’t outright nutcases, just people who I disagree with. And because they aren’t my contemporaries, all of a sudden there are young people who are making mistakes I know they could avoid, and people my age, but from a different part of the country who expect different things out of life. I don’t know. I get nuts.
I don’t often comment, but the posts in my head are either vicious or belittling. And sometimes I can’t help myself, and I wonder why I feel the need to comment in the first place. Because they put it out there? Because I want to show I know better? Do I actually care about these people, or do I just care about being right? Sometimes I seriously get riled up. It’s known in my circle of friends as going “Internet Crazy.” And it happens to me on a level usually reserved for talking about politics.
The answer just seems so simple – stop reading. No one is forcing me to read these blogs, or add these people as contacts. The internet is so wide and varied that I could simply remove them from my Google reader and never hear from them again. And yet? I don’t.
Am I alone?