In fact, studies have shown that humans are hardwired for schadenfreude, that the feeling of satisfaction we get from meting out altruistic punishment may have evolved to keep human societies intact.
Yes, it’s poetic justice when when the bullying boss gets publicly dressed down. And there wouldn’t be a market for Hollywood reporting if we all didn’t get a kick out of “Hot Stars With Cellulite”.
Social media is rife with metaphorical cellulite. We call them ‘fails’. You can’t swing a cat lately without hitting an article about an online ad campaign that tanked or a rogue tweet that lit up the Twittersphere. And yes, they’re fun to watch. But there are a lot of organizations nailing social media. Maybe they just ‘get’ that their customers are actual human beings – people they trust. Or they dealt with a rogue tweet with compassion and humour. Or they’re simply connecting with potential leads via strategic listening and an honest approach.
No More Schadenfreude
So, for 2012, enough with the schadenfreude. From Morton’s Steakhouse delivering to an airport, to a witty American Red Cross defusing an accidental tweet (and *gasp* not firing the poor sap!), to the Apple Store manager who had a heart, and made a little 10 year old girl’s day (that classy act honoured Steve Jobs’ memory more than an hour of silence ever could) – there was lots to feel proud and positive about in social media.
I for one will be **making every effort this year to resist that gleeful tingle when I see a social media misstep or even a full on face plant. God knows, the next time it could be me. Or you.
**Note: I’ll still be my cynical, eye rolling, crabby self in all other areas of my life.
What are your thoughts? Do we spend enough time celebrating social media wins? Why the constant focus on the losses?