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During the COVID pandemic and earlier during the Trump administration, many people created a bad SocialMedia? and TraditionalMedia? habit of anxiously refreshing social media and news outlets for fearful and anger inducing content. Because fear and anger are very arousing short-term experiences, they generate the impulse for more of the same feeling, which addicts TheAudience to wanting more and more content--DoomScrolling.

Ironically, the human mind is seeking catharsis to relax this arousal. We're egging ourselves on looking for some path of hope, calm, control, resolution to the ongoing negativity we subject ourselves to.

Fundamentally, we lose our LocusOfControl?. We feel awash in a tsunami of chaos. There is nothing we seemingly can do within our SphereOfInfluence? to OrderChaos. This dysregulates and destabilizes our psyches and creates LearnedHelplessness?.

Naturally, SocialMedia? and news feeds will never provide such a release because then we'd stop our DoomScrolling. They need the traffic!

The only solution is to turn off the news. However, then we are trapped being ignorant. It's not clear how to stay aware of what is happening in the world that threatens us that we must BePrepared? to manage, yet not get sucked into a vortex of chaos that wrecks us just the same.

Reading the enraging things and not getting enraged by them is one way of overcoming the problem. Some people may call it ‘indifference’. They might be right.

I do not think this phenomenon should be attributed to modern times (as in, the Internet times, the smartphone times). There was TeleVision? before! Telecompanies, in order to get more revenue, show people anger inducing content, resulting with what is basically the same as DoomScrolling. DoomWatching?? --TimurIsmagilov

For sure, you're right to Wiki:BlameYourselfFirst. A more centred approach would be to bring the LocusOfControl? back inward, not get dismayed by the chaos of the external world, let it pass by me like dirty water off a duck's back. It's my own fear and angst and anger that generate the addiction, for I'm seeking validation or catharsis. If I present a centre of positivity, love, and control to the world, I will get that back instead.

And yes, YellowJournalism? is the norm for news. It was only after WW2 with the advent of BroadCast? media like television that ObjectiveJournalism? become the (temporary) norm. I think TheAlgorithm makes this a novel 21st century experience because there is much more science behind arousing our emotions. And also, let me admit it, I'm addicted to my phone like a pack of cigarettes.

TheMediumIsTheMessage?, so to speak. I think it is different than at the turn of the 20th century. It's valuable also to talk about how SocialMedia?, TheAlgorithm, and PushNotification?s feed the demons inside, not to blame them, but to acknowledge them, and then be centred and present to contend with them. -- SunirShah

Why do we get angry while reading social media posts?

Why do we get fearful while reading social media posts?

The solution to A is indifference; the solution to B and C is acceptance. -- JeromeDelacroix

For me it's despair, whose natural antidote one might think is hope; but of course unmet hope leads to disappointment and worse despair. Cutting the rope by giving up despair and hope is one solution. That is, acceptance leading to indifference is one way out. Acceptance leading to preparedness for the pending disaster is another way out.

However, in either of those cases, we lost the gamble that one could resolve the desperate situation through action. Inaction isn't usually the most reasonable choice. We can usually make progress in the face of chaos.

For instance, just related to the COVID19 pandemic and the infinite lockdowns and school closures in Ontario disrupting my family and children, the looming threat my wife will be called in with a code orange because the hospital system crashed, and my conference will be scrapped again create an overwhelming number of problems. To accept and become indifferent to those situations would lead to disaster. I have a responsibility to, well, respond (that's what responsibility means) by first being prepared, and then coming up with a counter-action to any potential problems.

So for instance, we set up the house for my kids, gave them activities to manage their time without us, organized our pantry so they can give themselves snacks and also that we could survive a two-week isolation period; we rushed our vaccinations so everyone is fully vaxxed and boosted; we have a fire drill after 2 reschedules of the conference already; and my wife has her PPE upgraded in case she's moved to the front lines.

The DoomScrolling comes from the ongoing realizing that the situation around me changes multiple times a day, and keeping aware of problems is critical to my ability to respond in time. However, important information is buried in a stream of people whinging emotionally about the pandemic.

First, I think the SerenityPrayer is actually the wisest course of action.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.

Second, my information gathering strategy is to build a framework of thought about the pandemic. I listen to the headline news 3 times a day to see if anything important is being said. If news sources move onto the emotional reaction to the pandemic, I shut it off.

The concept of DoomScrolling--scrolling--is passive InformationSurfing?, and I think moves the LocusOfControl? externally which is where the despair sets in. A better information strategy is to, yes, accept the desperate situation and assume the losses will happen, and then from what remains, build a strategy to maximize the outcome from there, and then measure information coming in against that framework. What is useful to me to advance my objectives and plans?

Obviously, what continues to hurt is the losses keep expanding past my imagination, but that as MarcusAurelius? and the stoics would probably say is a failure of my imagination.

I don't mean to wallow in despair, but actually the opposite. I accept that we are as a family still in a very strong position, and no matter what happens, my life will be rich and grand. I may lose some important things in the short term, but I always have myself.

And to come back to the topic of this page, that's what DoomScrolling is... the loss of ownership of our selves. To cultivate a rich and grand self is half of the meaning of life. I decided to create this page because I am simply amazed how much easier it is to create SocialMedia? feeding the SevenVices than the SevenVirtues?. I mean what other purpose is MeatballWiki really about than for people who want self-control over their own online experience? -- SunirShah


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