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My Middle Name is Schadenfreude

August 25, 2009

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.

schadenfreude

Am I alone?

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. August 25, 2009 2:39 pm

    You DO realize that everyone whose blog you’ve read is now going to be busy worrying: Is she talking about ME?

    *giggles* Wait… you’ve read MY blog *frets*

    • August 25, 2009 3:38 pm

      I know! And I put off this post for as long as I could, and then it exploded out of my evil little fingers. I can’t even contain myself to help other people not be neurotics 🙂

  2. August 25, 2009 2:53 pm

    Wow, do I feel you on this. There are some blogs that I read that continually piss me off and I feel all stabby about it. And I want to write and comment and say some blog-post-specific version of “WTF ARE YOU THINKING?!?!?!?” I hold back as much as I can. And my blood pressure continues to rise.

  3. August 25, 2009 3:20 pm

    Wait, what? Other people are like this too?

    All this time I thought it was only me. I am hugely relieved.

    We’re probably all going to hell, but we can at least meet at the Starbuck’s there and talk smack about various people.

  4. Marie permalink
    August 25, 2009 4:14 pm

    No. You aren’t alone. At all! I’m so bad about this, and I’m so glad you’ve brought this up. I’m a huge internet stalker/enjoyer of “bad but not TOO bad” things happening to some people (gosh, that’s hard to admit). And I always want to say something, but then I’m like “What purpose does this really serve?”

    Maybe there is an anonymous meeting for our kind…

  5. August 25, 2009 5:58 pm

    I definitely do this. There are some people, you read their blog, and you just go, “Seriously? You’re seriously doing this?” For the vast majority of people, mean words are just going to get their hackles up and kind advice is going to go straight over their head, so talking to them isn’t useful. And clearly reading them is just going to raise your blood pressure. I think NOT reading them is the only sane response…unless you want to be that crazy person where people go, “Are you seriously going to keep reading it? Seriously?!” 😉

    • August 25, 2009 7:58 pm

      I don’t WANT to be that crazy person, but it appears I definitely, definitely am. And I don’ t want to stop. How do people go through life without getting angry at the internet? Aren’t they bored?!

  6. August 26, 2009 1:21 pm

    On occasion I’ll find myself reading post after post on some blog I’ve randomly come across, which I’m reading in spite of how horrible of a person/writer they obviously are. I’m typically pretty good about recognizing it and not subscribing to their feed though.

    As for Facebook, I personally love how so many people from my high school feature a profile pic of them and their children, wherein they all look completely miserable. Thank you time!

  7. angelasw permalink
    August 26, 2009 7:36 pm

    You are not alone. Most people piss me off and I keep coming back, mostly because of a fascination that compels me to find out more about what I disagree with. Hence the BA in religion.

  8. August 27, 2009 12:26 pm

    I support and respect your stalking.

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