Minimal doomscrolling

The New York Times offers up a widely-shared article on doomscrolling, which prompts me to realize that I’m actually doing pretty well at staying away from that.

In large measure I credit my decision from right after the election to minimize my exposure to internet content designed to maximize my outrage. Outrage comes with its own little dopamine hit, which makes it a treadmill that’s hard to get off of, but I realized that it was a treadmill that didn’t suit me:

I’m going to follow fewer links—so often they go to articles calculated to produce outrage, and I don’t need more outrage. It’s a fine line, because there has been and will be much that is deserving of outrage. Yet: I do not worry that I will suffer from outrage deficiency.

I did pretty well at that, and I doubled down on it after coming across the ideas of (and then reading several books by) Cal Newport. His book Deep Work reminded me of the satisfaction involved in taking the time and putting in the energy to focus deeply on doing something important and doing it well. (I recommended the book at the time.) His book Digital Minimalism helped me understand the harm that comes from participating in the faux social interactions of social media (things that feel like social interactions, but aren’t—things like hitting “like” on a facebook post).

I don’t want to give an impression of smugness here. I’m certainly not holding myself out as a role model. I’m all-to-well aware that at every moment I’m only a few clicks away from leaping headlong down the rabbit hole of internet outrage. But I’m doing okay. I feel the outrage, but I’m not compelled to feed it. I tend not to share the posts that feed the outrage in others (while still sharing the ones that suggest ways to make things better, both individually, and across society).

Maybe one or another of those ideas would be helpful to you.

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