Doomscrolling, or the act of losing oneself to an endless refreshing of the day’s catastrophes on social media, has arguably never been more popular. Part of that might be due to the fact that, y’know, everything is kinda awful right now. But a large portion of it is directly traceable to companies like Facebook and Twitter straight-up gameifying people’s usage of their products by working to rewire portions of our brains to crave the incessant likes, RTs, and infodumps. Pair that with the guilt that comes from knowing we’re playing into their nihilistic machinations, and it really becomes this endless spiral of self-loathing and tragedy, right?
Well, what if we told you that you could still satisfy that unhealthy desire unwillingly implanted in your brain, but for the sake of art? Allow us to present you with The Endless Doomscroller. Designed by artist and professor, Benjamin Grosser, TED (it’s so much cuter as an acronym, right?) presents your daily dose of tragedy and bedlam, sans social media metrics and the self-righteous indignation that usually comes with any given day’s phone usage.
“By distilling the news and social media sites down to their barest most generalized messages and interface conventions, The Endless Doomscroller shows us the mechanism that’s behind our scroll-induced anxiety: interfaces—and corporations—that always want more,” Grosser writes on his website. “More doom (bad news headlines) compels more engagement (via continued liking/sharing/posting) which produces more personal data, thus making possible ever more profit.”
This isn’t the first time Grosser has designed a method to showcase the shittiness of social media giants—he’s also designed Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram demetricators, which can hide everyone’s likes, follower counts, comments, and notifications. As an art piece, The Endless Doomscroller may not offer you a cure to your newfound, incessant need for tragedy, but at least it can make you feel more cultured while you do it.
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