3237 Dropping in on strangersMost of the blogs I read are written by strangers. If I return often enough, there is a sense that I at least know their stories even if I wouldn't recognize them on the street. Some are very sad; some happy; some are people of deep faith; some are strange beyond belief. I almost linked to a woman whose blog came up in a search I was doing--she had two really good posts on marriage, both copied from other bloggers, and her own comments exhibited skill with words. Then I clicked to her "main" page just to see if there was a bio or something. There I was horrified to read her recounting of picking up an affair she'd had a few months ago. She wasn't unhappy; her husband was a nice guy; and she wanted to stay married. The families I know whose lives have been destroyed by this kind of idiocy spun through my mind like the dead leaves blowing around our yard this afternoon. Sometimes it involves 4 generations and goes on for decades.
But this careless airhead isn't what I wanted to talk about. You've heard the expression "Happiness shared is doubled; sadness shared is halved." I think bloggers live by that. When they are happy, they want to share and their happiness is doubled or tripled when the comments roll in--"Way to go," or "I'm so pround of you." When they are grieving--and I've read some really heavy, heavy blogs of chronic illness, death, job loss, crashing friendships, etc.--you can almost see the spirits lift on the screen when there is a kind or thoughtful response.
Now someone has written a paper on that to try to find out if it is true. "Is Happiness Shared Doubled and Sadness Shared Halved?: Social Influence on Enjoyment of Hedonic Experiences," by RAJAGOPAL RAGHUNATHAN, University of Texas at Austin and KIM CORFMAN, New York University. I'd share the authors' conclusions, except it's written in academese, and made little sense to me.