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What is Doomsday Scroll, and who should blame it?

What is doomsday scrolling? You wake up and reach out for your phone. This is instinctive. After unlocking, you can almost unconsciously check social media applications, including scrolling, scrolling, bad news, pandemics, global disasters. The world feels like its end, you haven’t even finished your first cup of tea. Before you know it, you have been attracted by the whirlpool of triggering messages, but you cannot stop scrolling, or even put down your phone. We have all completed this doom rolling, especially in the past 9 months, now you know the meaning of this behavior.

The behavior is old, but the terminology is new. According to a report from National Public Radio, reporter Karen Ho helped promote the term. Ho told NPR: “For many journalists, the act of doomsday scrolling is almost a normal act, so once I see the word, I will say,’Oh, this is an act that I have been engaged in for several years. .’

The real reason that really made this word popular is that 2020 feels that the world is really going to end. Sites like have been tracking the frank end of the world, and the lockdown related to COVID-19 has ensured that most of us are trapped at home and have a lot of free time to spend on Twitter and Facebook. But don’t feel bad about yourself-Doomsday scrolling is almost guaranteed by social media design.

Doomsday scrolling is by design

The reason why social media is so addictive can be found before the invention of the Internet. American behavioral psychologist BF Skinner proposed the idea of ​​randomly arranging rewards in the 1950s. In his book “Science and Human Behavior”, he wrote about the research method of “Skinner Box”, a device for studying pigeons and mice.

At the beginning of the experiment, the pigeons will get food every time they complete tasks such as turning or pecking the ball. After a while, the reward will become random, but the behavior will be established, and the pigeon will continue to peck and turn, just in case it causes some food.

Today, we are all pigeons in the “Skinner” box on social media, swipe to refresh our feed, and pop up in the form of sharing a favorite link or making a new comment on one of your photos to see the pop-up rewards. Or it may be nothing. Ironically, this behavior is addictive.

Russian psychologist Ivan Pavlov famously stated that he must play a metronome every time he feeds a dog. He can train them to associate food with the metronome. Even if there is no food, they will I started to drool when I heard it. Whenever one of these cute red notifications appears, we are also nudged, trained and conditionally clicked on the push notification and opened the app, which is why it is difficult to stop scrolling.

Bad news is good for social media

“When we are online, we are increasingly stuck in an algorithm that filters the content that the algorithm (for us) thinks is best for us,” author and cybersecurity expert Shane Parish wrote on his blog Farnam Street Wrote in. “Therefore, the content we read online is constantly filtered according to what we like.”

Apart from that, what we “seem” like is just what we spent some time writing-it will be a story about the world that seems to be about to end, because that will definitely catch your attention. Then, the algorithm can meet your needs, because you seem to like it.

According to research conducted by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, adults show negative prejudice. Bad news is good for the attention economy. Emotional tweets are forwarded faster, and the way to trigger posts is faster. Therefore, for social media engagement statistics, feel-good content is not the best. After a whole day of doomsday scrolls, you will feel triggered, so you will come back for more.

You won’t stop doom

To be kind, I will break this negative habit and it will be good. But will this happen? You can find plenty of tips to reduce social media addiction. However, it is very difficult to form a habit, and after reading this article, you may return to social media.

It is very disturbing to consider what is done to us and our free will in the name of “connection” through social media.

Because of the pandemic and its associated global economic crisis, it is difficult to tolerate the urge that we feel that we are all involved in our suffering and stop focusing too much on things that make us feel anxious.

However, the next time you fall into a doom roll, maybe you will not feel so sad about it, and you will see what is happening and why it is triggered in this way. Because it is not your fault. This is by design.

Should the government explain why Chinese applications are banned? We discussed on the weekly technical podcast Orbital, you can subscribe via Apple Podcast, Google Podcast or RSS, download the episode, or click the play button below.

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