Woman looking at her phone with the word doomscrolling overlaid on the image

Doomscrolling

Updated Jan 25, 2021 at 08:25AM EST by andcallmeshirley.

Added Jan 20, 2021 at 02:01PM EST by Matt.

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About

Doomscrolling, or Doomsurfing is the act of willingly subjecting one's self to bad news online, continuously scrolling through social media or news outlets, despite the negative emotional effect of what one's reading.

Origin

On October 7th, 2018, Twitter [1] user @Callamitys tweeted the earliest known usage of the word. That day, they wrote, "Taking a break from doomscrolling and being inundated with things and stuff. I'll be back tuesday or something. Here's a thing I'm making" (shown below).


callamity @Callamitys 000 Taking a break from doomscrolling and being inundated with things and stuff. I'll be back tuesday or something. Here's a thing l'm making. 12:10 PM · Oct 7, 2018 · Buffer

Spread

The term grew in usage following the outbreak of the COVID-19 coronavirus in the United States in March 2020. The first to reintroduce the phrase to Twitter during this time was Twitter @emuehlbe. On March 14th, 2020, they wrote,[2] "I know language work isn't the hot topic right now, but I'm recommending it strictly as a coping mechanism: do you want to keep nervously doomscrolling #onhere or do you want to brush up on that language you keep saying you want to work on?" The tweet received more than 300 likes in less than one year (shown below).


Ellen Muehlberger 000 @emuehlbe Replying to @emuehlbe I know language work isn't the hot topic right now, but l'm recommending it strictly as a coping mechanism: do you want to keep nervously doomscrolling #onhere or do you want to brush up on that language you keep saying you want to work on? 7:32 AM · Mar 14, 2020 · Twitter Web App

For the New York Times,[2] tech reporter Kevin Roose wrote,[3] "I’ve been doing a lot of this kind of doomsurfing recently -- falling into deep, morbid rabbit holes filled with coronavirus content, agitating myself to the point of physical discomfort, erasing any hope of a good night’s sleep. Maybe you have, too."

On March 24th, Urban Dictionary[7] user PenelopePenguin defined doomscrolling as "When you keep scrolling through all of your social media feeds, looking for the most recent upsetting news about the latest catastrophe. The amount of time spent doing this is directly proportional to how much worse you're going to feel after you're done." The post received more than 220 upvotes in less than one year (shown below).



On July 19th, 2020, clinical psychologist Dr. Amelia Aldao told NPR[4] that doomscrolling is part of a "vicious cycle of negativity." She said, "Our minds are wired to look out for threats. The more time we spend scrolling, the more we find those dangers, the more we get sucked into them, the more anxious we get."

By the following year, the idea of doomscrolling had been commonplace for those living through the pandemic, inspiring a series of jokes about the practice online. On October 6th, Twitter[5] user @matthewamiller tweeted, "Elect Joe Biden so you can read books at night again rather than endlessly doomscrolling twitter." The post received more than 331,000 likes and 50,000 retweets in less than one year (shown below, left). Months later, on January 6th, the day of a violent storming of the United States Capitol, Twitter[6] @Q_KingWV tweeted, "Sorry boss I can't work I am doomscrolling the coup attempt." the tweet received more than 296,000 likes and 40,000 retweets in less than one month (shown below, right).



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Top Comments

Kommando_Kaijin
Kommando_Kaijin

Why would you do this doomscrolling nonsense when there's an entire global computer network that harbors a limitless and near-infinite supply of art of busty anime girls to archive, designate and potentially admire more thoroughly at a later time? Those detailed depictions don't download and preserve themselves, you know!

I ain't got no time to waste on this crap, I've gotta draw twin 6'3" red-haired redneck gamer girls with tits bigger than their already thick thighs. Whenever someone asks me why I'm not doing this politics stuff 24/7, it's because I've got something objectively much more important to do.

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