For hours each day, people are putting themselves into zombie-mode and engaging in what’s been termed over the past few months as “doomscrolling.” That’s where you sit there staring at your mobile device or computer, scrolling through miles-and-miles of negativity.
For more than a decade, Jeffery Hall, of the Relationships & Technology Lab at The University of Kansas, has been studying the relationships between people and how they relate to technology. He says there’s a reason you get sucked into it all, and there are things you can do help control what you’re seeing.
- The first thing you need to know is that nothing you’re seeing is an accident. The social media companies are in business to keep you scrolling and engaged, and their algorithms are set up to feed you what they think you want.
- Everything you click on, spend time on, or “reinforce with your scrolling” tells that algorithm that you “want more of” it.
- The other part of the problem is your own mind. Humans are more inclined to react to “threats,” so you’re naturally keying into those things you think can harm you as part of your self-preservation instinct. The algorithms pick up on your reactions to those things, too.
What can you do about it? You can “train” your algorithm. Teach yourself to be more conscious of what you’re looking at instead of mindlessly scrolling. Move past and don’t click on the stuff you know is negative. If you can’t bring yourself to ditch friends that consistently aggravate you, then you can also simply “unfollow” them. That way, you’re still “friends” –but you’re not regularly annoyed by the crap they constantly post. Next, you can take away social media’s control over your attention span by turning off notifications and alerts.