Zoom Out of Doom: Alternatives to “Doomscrolling” On Twitter


There is a whole beautiful world outside of Twitter that probably will not depress you. Photo Credit: Michael Thompson/Dreamstime/TNS

Andreas Loretan, Opinion Editor

If you’re familiar with the social media landscape of 2020 at all, you are surely aware that Twitter is a giant pool of dread, with an algorithm designed to either disillusion you into a cynical pit of confusion, or radicalize you into a survivalist conspiracy theorist. It depends on who you follow really. For every golden nugget of positivity, the world finds a way to spit some of the worst, and occasionally weirdest, news straight from your phone screen into your face. Luckily, there are nearly an infinite number of things to do that don’t include scrolling through Twitter fixating on your hatred for x, y, and z political figures. Here, we are focusing on just a few easy things you could try out instead of “doomscrolling.” In other words, wallowing in negative news stories via your feed, your way through social media.

  1. Read a book. With this first suggestion, I am basically begging you to read a book. If you read 100 tweets in a given amount of time at around 140 characters each, that equates to roughly 35 pages of a book, according to a quick Google search. Books come in so many different flavors too. Try a fantasy novel if you would like to escape from this dreary reality for a bit. Or, you could read a history book if you want to understand that everything bad happening in the world today has some sort of precedent, so when the next bad thing happens, the sting is softened by just that much.
  2. Take a walk. Leave your phone behind and take a walk around your neighborhood. The fresh air and natural light will surely adjust those mental mechanics back to a healthy medium. Plus, seeing people walk around in person reminds you that not everybody is as crazy as the Twitter algorithm presents. 
  3. Watch a new-to-you movie. You probably have four or five different streaming services on that Roku stick of yours, so put them to use and find a nice film to wrap your head around. If you are going to spend precious brain cells on stress, you might as well turn on something like “Parasite” or “Uncut Gems.” Just don’t think about the real world commentary these movies might be presenting, or else you’ll be right back in that corner of hopelessness that got you reading this article in the first place.
  4. Put your Twitter-fueled anger to use. When getting your news off of your phone, it’s easy to lose grasp of the fact that all these horror stories you are reading are true, and they are happening to real people in real places. Whether it’s financially donating to a just cause, or physically showing up to help people who need it, the actions we can take to hinder the harm we are reading about are wide-reaching and usually pretty simple to get involved in. The best part is, you usually don’t need your phone to do them.

Twitter, Instagram, and the rest can be very disheartening places to be, but a quick zoom out can recalibrate the senses a bit. The world and its people are not usually as crazy and evil as the feed will lead you to believe, but it’s important to keep in mind the real-world consequences of the “doom” in your daily scroll. It’s up to you to let that alienate or galvanize you, maybe even a healthy combination of both.