Monday 5 September 2011

Facebook Schadenfreude

Do Facebook fans love gloating over their friends' misfortunes? An upcoming seminar in Canterbury's management department suggests they do.
This research looks at one of Facebook's more nuanced appeals. In the seminar, we will look at the way in which Facebook eases the tension between consumers' desire to stare, and the social norm that dictates that we should not stare. Interviews with avid Facebook users reveal that their motivations for staring into the lives of their 'Friends' are driven by not just a desire to collect novel and interesting information, but also because their friends' posts repulse them, and their friends' misfortune release feelings of Schadenfreude and self affirmation. This research also shows that starers perceive a greater level of connectivity and closeness to those they are staring at, even though the person being stared at has no idea of the starer's behaviour.
And so I will engage in a bit of self-affirmation as a non-Facebook user and feel superior to those Schadenfreude fans. Ahhh.... I can feel the smug. It's palpable.

Wait, what's that you say? I can't get smug self-satisfaction about not having had the misfortune of being part of the unfortunate group who get smug self-satisfaction from others' misfortunes without causing some kind of logical fallacy? Bah, I say. BAH.

1 comment:

  1. "Don't ever give up! You can always be more smug!" -- Bryan Caplan