Sunday, December 03, 2006

3237 Dropping in on strangers

Most 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.


Ginco said...

Norma, this is all so true what you've written here about various bloggers - and yes, there are people with hair-raising stories in Bloggerville!
Someone once said blogging is like keeping a diary, but I don't quite agree, because a diary is private whereas blogging is an open letter for all to see. :-))

Anonymous said...

Hello there Norma,

wow, you raised the question I was just pondering...what do I get out of blogging and why do I do it? Why do I read so many other blogs, usually with no knowledge of who they are in real life.

I love surfing through random blogs. There is something curious and special about feeling connected with people who are anonymous and not part of your everday life.

I also really appreciate blogs when I completely disagree with a post. Find that if I return a few times, glean some insights to a point of view that I wouldn't have considered on my own...

Always helps to know that one's bad feelings and sadness are not unique, and fun to celebrate with others, if things are going well for them.

Blogs are a great way to vent and a lovely way to communicate with others. At least for me, blogging has seen me through some very dark days and added joy to some very bright ones.

off to chase your link.

Thanks for this post!