Hi Barry. I’m not sure if you’re being facetious, but if you are being serious, then there are serious answers to your question. Philosophy, to my mind, is one side of the coin; psychology is the other. One look at the history of philosophy and you’ll notice that a lot of philosophers were interested in human behavior. Why do we feel as we do? What motivates our decisions with respect to morality? Why do we perceive and think as we do? So any philosophical answer as to why we scroll implies a psychological answer.
It just so happens that I found myself scrolling on Facebook a few minutes ago and I started thinking about your question. Why was I doing it? As you’ve probably noticed, sometimes we scroll aimlessly. We don’t really know what we are looking for. We are just passing or killing time, procrastinating, or, as in my case, avoiding one’s feelings. I am honestly in a state of emotional shock; I’m in a place in my life now that I won’t elaborate on, but there’s a pain and emptiness inside of me that won’t be alleviated anytime soon. So when I was scrolling, it was absolutely mindless. I wasn’t looking for anything in particular, wasn’t reading most of the statuses, watching most of the videos, or clicking through the links. I guess I just want to feel like I’m doing something even though I’m not doing anything.
With that being said, people can scroll to avoid their problems. In some cases, people are dealing with stress, depression, loneliness, sadness, disappointment, frustration, etc. and they scroll on Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, or elsewhere as a way to escape. They bombard their consciousness with sensory information without actually focusing on or even being aware of most of it. This, I might imagine, is stimulating to the brain, pleasurable even. So this temporary fugue state is useful for dissociation, desensitization, or even demotivation. Speaking for myself, I don’t want to be aware of my thoughts or feelings right now. I don’t want to be sensitive to what I’m feeling. And I am absolutely demotivated both with respect to facing my problems and in terms of doing anything meaningful: washing dishes, cleaning my apartment, or even taking care of myself. I need to shave; I need a shower; at times I’m refusing to eat. So one of the things I do is scroll aimlessly.
Another obvious answer is boredom. Overwhelming the senses with information is a good way to solve that problem. Difference here is that you can’t be too aimless. Eventually one will want to focus in on something, be it sports highlights, makeup tutorials, cooking and baking demonstrations, clips from one of your favorite shows, a cover of one of your favorite songs, or some random viral video. Given how social media works, if one such video or link grabs your focus, you can end up going from one video to another and then another; you can read one article and then another. This may, in turn, inspire you to share your thoughts on Facebook or Twitter, or with a friend over the phone or in person. Or you might get up and decide you’d like to try to follow the cooking or baking video because you would like to try the dish or dessert.
I imagine that an actualized scroller is in tune with their interests. They know what it is they’re searching for and are simply cataloguing. So the philosophy enthusiast, like myself, may not always read a given article right away, but I will scroll and scroll and scroll and set things aside for future reference or consideration. The same applies to someone who’s into art, baking, music, and so on. A guitar player isn’t going to cover every song in one fell swoop. So she’ll decide on this Queen song first and then that Pink Floyd song and then something a bit more to the times, perhaps Ed Sheeran or Lewis Capaldi.
I’m sure that behavior across social media, scrolling or otherwise, can be considered much further. This is only my two cents. I sincerely hope it’s been helpful and I encourage anyone reading this to share their insights. Do challenge my insights if you would like. I’m honestly not as keen on too much discussion at the time, but trust that I will read along. Stay safe in these trying times!
Talent giver: “Person 1. You will be talented at football. Person 2, you will receive the gift of singing, and person 3, you will be excellent in art”
Lime: “What about me?”
Talent giver: “Well, I guess your talent could be being friendly?”
Lime: “Wow fuck you”
Talent giver: “Okay okay, your talent will be, being able to hate someone without suffering from it”
Lime: “Much better”
Well I can draw, sing, and some other stuff 😊☺
I have a weird ability to know what flavor and sometimes even the brand of chapstick I am using when I apply it.
“I can smell Celia’s underwear and know where she’s been.”
“I don’t know if it counts, but when I was little I could walk on my hands. Oh, and I can also squirt milk out of my nose. A kid from middle school taught me how, a while back.”
I have three (3) talents:
The first is being able to make a situation so incredibly awkward that I have mastered the ability of Weirding Up a place to the point where I can walk away and come back after a while and still see the embarrassment and confusion on the recipient’s face.
The second is my ability to become invisible to people around me who aren’t paying Exact Attention to my presence while I am so mentally fascinated by a subject/project that I cannot physically move or the train of thought will be Broken
Both are useful as an introvert.
Lastly, I have the ability to formulate the Grossest insults when in an argument. They always manage to make their recipient cry despit making No Sense afterwards and being made up on a whim.
The third, while incredibly useful during Overstimulating Situations, is largely unused and in replaced in favor of the first.
All of them are useful as an aspiring cryptid in public.