George Resch loves two things in this world: “Making people think a little bit more positively, and making them laugh.” A former fence salesman from Long Island, New York, Resch is now the creator of the wildly popular (2.5 million followers) positive news outlet Tank’s Good News, set up in September 2017 after he saw a picture of an old woman being rescued from her living room in Texas during the floods caused by Hurricane Harvey. Inspired by the image’s portrayal of “triumph in the tragedy” – she was on the back of a jet ski doing a double thumbs up – Resch, 41, began posting similar images: a young woman food shopping for an elderly couple too scared to get out of their car during peak pandemic in Oregon, or the homecoming queen who gave her crown to a recently bereaved classmate. Resch believes the appeal of his posts is simple: “It’s a hit of dopamine when you’re scrolling through doom and gloom.” Every day, he is inundated with messages from people saying he has saved their life.
Speaking to Resch is an oddly emotional experience for me. Last year, Tank’s Good News became my lifeline. Desperate to find my way out of postnatal depression (PND) after the birth of my second child, I stopped reading the news, logged off social media and immersed myself in Tank’s stories of optimism. Before this, I had never been one to put up my blinkers. I thought it dangerous and foolish to ignore bad news. Like many journalists, “keeping informed” verged on compulsion, born out of professional obligation and fear of ignominy. But last summer I felt raw; fire-hosed by information and stimuli. I’d wake up feeling terrified, before indulging in a bout of doomscrolling (the excessive consumption of bad or anxiety-inducing news online). I would find myself lost in unverified stories and furious hot takes on social media, leaving me drained of energy, yet too jittery to sit still.