So I used to browse a lot of social media (especially Twitter) mostly looking at the environment & politics. I also read a lot of news (often only scanning the titles).
The problem: My growing anxiety & sadness & fear (a classical outcome of doomscrolling).
The solution: Self-ban on social media & news sites.
What exactly did I do?
Long story short, 3 weeks ago I decided to drastically limit my social media presence. Since then I haven’t been scrolling Twitter or FB. I also haven’t visited any news site.
OK, there are some exceptions:
- I (rarely!) visit specific pages – i.e. twitter.com/notifications and linkedin.com/notifications/ as I wouldn’t like to miss any discussions involving me or the content that I shared.
- I often visit sport news simply because I like it, and they are rarely depressing. 🙂
- Once every few days I visit a bunch of carefully selected twitter profiles (mostly related to climate action) and I read only their last 2-3 posts (and occasionally like/retweet some of them).
- I go to FB only to follow some stop-the-fury-industry actions (for my Polish colleagues: otwarteklatki.pl)
So, in short, some dopamine shots are OK, but I don’t need so many of them and so often.
So how does it work?
In short: great! I feel much better, and a lot of my anxiety & fear & sadness is gone!
No more sad evenings after mindless but exhausting doomscrolling sessions.
Ignorance is a bliss?
No, that is not really it. I still know, I’m still aware. I’m aware of the pitiful state of our climate and the horrors of world & Polish politics (sadly, we are losing our democracy & freedom to Gilead fanatics). But I just don’t torture myself regularly with some sad facts that I’m helpless to act against (at least not immediately, not now, not 5 minutes before I go to bed).
Do I know what is going on in the world?
Well, mostly I don’t, but to some extent I do. I’m unaware of many facts. And when I ask myself
do I miss anything by not being fully informed about world politics and such?
then the answer is simple:
For example, I learned about bisons attacking the Capitol accidentally – when I visited a sports page and scanned the title about the NBA players doing something about it. I learned about Trump downfall from my wife sharing with me the news. I learned about some similar facts during some random discussion with people at work.
And you know what? – it hurts much less when you hear somebody sharing such news compared to reading well-crafted clickbaits and twitter posts full of emotions.
Is it permanent or temporary?
It is just an experiment. If it serves me well, I will stick to it. If not, I will change.
Well, I plan to read some in-depth analysis of some smart journalists so that I’m not completely unaware of what was happening during my “offline”, but I definitely don’t plan to go back to reading some articles crafted with the vile intention of rising my emotions (go to hell, all you pseudo journalists out there!). This doesn’t serve me well.
(If this part is cryptic, then there is nothing to worry about – it only means you aren’t as obsessed with Tolkien as I am. And that is OK.)
This post is dedicated to Lord Denethor – an inventor of the doomscrolling 😉
Hail, Denethor, son of Ecthelion, Lord and Steward of Gondor!
And what about Linkedin?
I also stopped visiting Linkedin. Obviously, Li doesn’t belong to “doomscrolling” category, but I realised that my Li sessions usually ended with plenty new articles added to my getpocket that I never read. So it was a huge waste of time.