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How To Slow The Doomscroll

A picture taken shows logos of US social networking websites Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, displayed on smart-phone screen.
A picture taken shows logos of US social networking websites Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, displayed on smart-phone screen.

It’s an easy habit to fall into, especially during stressful, busy times (which lately…has been always). You’ve just gotten home, or you’ve just finished work. You sit down on your couch, and when you look up again, you realize you’ve sunk hours into your timeline. You’re not alone. Many people have reported falling into the habit of doomscrolling, or binging on posts or stories containing negative content that show up on social media.

What seems like a relatively harmless activity can actually be bad for our mental health, working to trap us in a vicious cycle of self-doubt and pessimism.

From WIRED:

The effects of doomscrolling also vary depending on who’s doing it. Allissa Richardson, a professor at USC’s Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism, notes that when she was researching her new book Bearing Witness While Black: African Americans, Smartphones, and the New Protest #Journalism, she spoke to many activists who didn’t participate in doomscrolling simply because, they said, “I can’t see myself being killed over and over again in this tiny square on my phone.” Being able to participate in, and then opt out of, excessive social media use is, she notes, a privilege, which is why, when it comes to social media, many black users turn to Verzuz battles on Instagram Live and other forms of black joy as an act of resistance. “Doomscrolling for black people works in the inverse, we’re actually trying to look for something separate and apart from bad things,” Richardson says. “For many nonblack Americans, this has been an incredibly enriching time, and doomscrolling for them is a deep dive into the things maybe they weren’t educated well about in the first place or maybe did have an inkling about but were ignoring.”

So, how do we slow the doomscroll? And how can we cope when your timeline can induce trauma?

 

 

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