You may not have heard of cheerscrolling yet, but you’ll benefit from trying to apply it to how you consume content on your phone. It’s time to ditch the depressive doomscrolling we’re all addicted to, and start taking up cheerscrolling. Here’s why.
What is cheerscrolling?
I think I’m the first person to define cheerscrolling because I wasn’t able to find any definition when I googled it. Although I’m not the first person to use it. I submitted the word for definition on Urban Dictionary, but who knows if they’ll accept it. Anyway, here’s a quick definition of cheerscrolling:
Cheerscrolling is the flip-side to doomscrolling, whereby you seek positive and uplifting content to consume by filtering your news for positive content to scroll through.
For example, you could cheerscroll through IdeaSpies which seeks to showcase only positive and inspiring news or you could check out Positive News. You could also only follow and look at body positive accounts on Instagram. If you’re a blogger like me, then you might also want to know how you can promote your positively framed work on the IdeaSpies platform, if so, then click here to find out more.
Why Is Cheerscrolling Important?
If you remember my previous article on how music can affect your mood, then you’ll understand why cheerscrolling is important. News, like music, can influence our emotions (Berger and Milkman, 2010). Depressing news will make us feel down, stuff about hate crimes will often make us angry, and positive news will make us feel good. It’s that simple.
The Benefits Of Positive News
It goes without saying that news outlets push negative content over positive news stories. Even headlines of most articles that float through our social media newsfeeds are largely designed to lean towards the negative. The so-called clickbait headlines are everywhere, and to compete with huge established corporations, we bloggers also have to play that game. Which sucks, it stifles creativity. I’ve had to ditch really great and creative titles for bland ones that’ll get me better views and rank better in search engine searches.
Before we talk about the benefits of positive news, let’s first quickly define a basic idea of what makes a positive news story. For that, we turn to McIntyre (2016) who defined positive news stories as a story whereby the majority of readers would feel satisfied/pleased the event happened or happened as it did. Well, that’s a basic positive news story from a traditional news outlet, at least. But a positive news story doesn’t just have to be about an event, it could also include a positive information story such as a story about new progress in green technology, for example. You get the idea.
In amongst that sea of negative news, there stand a few news outlets that seek only positive news, a true diamond in the rough. There’s the Good News Network, The Daily Good, Positive News, and community/volunteer driven IdeaSpies. It really doesn’t take much effort to find positive content with a simple Google search, so it begs the question, why aren’t we all switching to positive news sources?
To investigate three different types of news stories, McIntyre and Gibson (2016) used a fictitious news site and 307 US participants, getting them to take part in a survey. The three different news stories being studied were positive, negative, or silver lining (a negative story with a fortunate outcome). The study found that readers who consumed positive news stories reported a higher level of enjoyment than reading news stories of the other two types.
However, you’d probably be less likely to say you enjoyed reading a negative story, but the fact positive stories also out performs a silver lining story is telling. The study also shows that if you want people to enjoy a negative story, finding a positive outcome to finish with. I guess that’s why underdog stories are so popular, because we want that happy ending against impossible odds.
The survey study by McIntyre and Gibson (2016) is supported by a report conducted by Berger and Milkman (2010). Their report challenged the conventional belief that negative news is king, proving that it wasn’t. In their report, they state that positive news is actually more viral, toppling the old king.
We all know sharing content is a big part of our lives. I know the stuff I pay attention to most in my Facebook newsfeed are links to articles rather than personal posts about whatever that person’s been doing. Everything comes with handy share buttons nowadays, but failing that, we can always copy and paste a link if we need to go old school. But with a quick click, I can share the news article I read on my Facebook newsfeed.
Interestingly, when it comes to personal news, we’re more likely to share the positive news we have with others than our negative news, which Gable and Reis (2010) termed ‘capitalization’. That’s why social media feeds can present unrealistic, perfect lives of the people we follow. The reality is always a lot different. People love sharing their positive news because in doing so, the happiness of their friends about the good news increases their own feelings of happiness about it.
Events in our lives, no matter how big or small, can affect our wellbeing. Therefore, ditching, or at least reducing, your exposure to negative news for positive news, will hopefully foster positive feelings of wellbeing.
I’m setting you all a challenge, but don’t worry, it’s easy to take part in. Let’s fill Twitter with cheerful tweets for a change by tweeting all joyous news under the hashtag cheerscrolling: #Cheerscrolling. Start sharing your happy news tweets now and for the next seven days I’ll try to retweet every #Cheerscrolling tweet I come across.
As a bonus to this challenge, why don’t you also retweet the #Cheerscrolling tweets that make you happy, and spread the love. If you’d like to keep track of the cheerscrolling on Twitter, you can do so by clicking here.
By: Marcus Gordon
First published on Unwanted Life August 25, 2021
Berger, J., & Milkman, K. (2010). Social transmission, emotion, and the virality of online content. Wharton research paper, 106, 1-52. Retrieved from https://www.msi.org/working-papers/social-transmission-emotion-and-the-virality-of-online-content.
McIntyre, K. (2016). What makes “good” news newsworthy?. Communication Research Reports, 33(3), 223-230. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1080/08824096.2016.1186619
McIntyre, K. E., & Gibson, R. (2016). Positive news makes readers feel good: A “Silver-Lining” approach to negative news can attract audiences. Southern Communication Journal, 81(5), 304-315. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1080/1041794X.2016.1171892.
Gable, S. L., & Reis, H. T. (2010). Good news! Capitalizing on positive events in an interpersonal context. In Advances in experimental social psychology (Vol. 42, pp. 195-257). Academic Press. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/S0065-2601(10)42004-3 and https://labs.psych.ucsb.edu/gable/shelly/sites/labs.psych.ucsb.edu.gable.shelly/files/pubs/gable_reis_2010.pdf.