Echo Chambers - The Daily Gwei #83

Red vs blue, cat vs dog, bitcoiner vs etherean - will it ever end?


Every other day in crypto there’s a new narrative that seemingly everyone is talking about whether it’s DeFi, DAOs or, more recently, NFTs. I see many people wondering why this happens and why these narratives proliferate so fast throughout platforms like Twitter. Well, the answer is it’s because of good old-fashioned echo chambers!

Echo chambers visualized.

To make sense of all of this, it’s important to identify where you’re seeing various narratives play out. It’s almost always on Twitter, right? Well this is because Twitter’s algorithms are finely tuned to show you things based on your own interests and behavior. For example, if you’re only tweeting about DeFi then you’re going to really only see DeFi-related tweets (and those adjacent to DeFi) most of the time. If you’re only tweeting about Bitcoin then you’re probably not going to be seeing tweets about Ethereum all too frequently. This forced echo chamber has enormous effects on how we perceive the discourse happening on Twitter at any given time.

I tend to believe that a major reason why there is so much division among the Bitcoin and Ethereum communities is because of these forced echo chambers. Imagine being told and shown the same thing over and over again every single day - it actually ends up programming your brain to view a group in a certain (mostly negative) way. As an example, let’s explore a basic new user journey on Twitter and how they may grow to believe that Ethereum is a scam.

  1. New user (we’ll call him Bob) creates a Twitter account

  2. Bob indicates that he’s interested in cryptocurrency (to Twitter, cryptocurrency = Bitcoin)

  3. Twitter recommends Bob a bunch of top Bitcoin accounts to follow

  4. Many of these accounts are, unfortunately, people who constantly spew misinformation and lies about Ethereum while also calling it a scam

  5. Bob is now stuck in an echo chamber and only sees mostly negative tweets about Ethereum

  6. Bob may then go on to tweet these views himself further perpetuating the cycle

So in this scenario Bob’s view of Ethereum has been completely dictated by those who wish to spread misinformation and lies to further their own agenda. Sound familiar? That’s because it is - this kind of thing happens all the time in the political arena. The problem becomes even worse because as time goes on and the echo chamber continues to shape Bob’s mind, he will inevitably become even more biased and harbor even more irrational views about various topics.

It’s actually quite difficult to break yourself out of these echo chambers because they often feel very comfortable. If you’re in an echo chamber of Ethereum people then you’ll naturally keep tweeting positive things about Ethereum as that is what leads to more likes/retweets/followers which sets off the feel-good parts of our monkey brain. On top of this, you have to actually make a concerted effort to ensure that you are not in an echo chamber to begin with and then be constantly vigilant about not falling into one even though all forces at play are trying to keep you in that bubble.

So in the end it’s you vs an all-knowing algorithm - who do you think is going to win?

Have a great day everyone,
Anthony Sassano


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All information presented above is for educational purposes only and should not be taken as investment advice.


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