TMZ is just one small part of an industry that is often called the celebrity-industrial complex, but would be more accurately described as a branch of the schadenfreude economy—a massively profitable industry fueled by our insatiable desire to see those more successful than we are brought low, debased and belittled.


I think we can all relate to feeling resentful of a peer's success at one point or another. My guess is that this trait is only being exacerbated by social media and the whole 'you compare your behind the scenes withe everyone else's highlight reel.'

In fact, that's no longer as much of a guess, as I just googled 'Schadenfreude social media' and came upon this quite recent study

    Overall, the researchers found that people tended to spend more time on the profiles of people who were rated as successful and attractive.

    But participants who had been put in a negative mood spent significantly more time than others browsing the profiles of people who had been rated as unsuccessful and unattractive.

    “If you need a self-esteem boost, you’re going to look at people worse off than you,” Knobloch-Westerwick said. “You’re probably not going to be looking at the people who just got a great new job or just got married.

    “One of the great appeals of social network sites is that they allow people to manage their moods by choosing who they want to compare themselves to.”

That last sentence is particularly interesting. I've never consciously considered the use of social media to make myself feel better about myself. Not in terms of feeling superior to others anyway. I've only been aware of the danger of self-deprecation. But I guess the pendulum swings both ways.

posted by thenewgreen: 1636 days ago