· To identify behavioural patterns and the underlying power struggles on social media.
· To investigate how “emotional conflict” can affect the portrayal of facts.
· To learn about the modern and “off-textbook” ways that people can be manipulated on social media, and to investigate on how to prepare yourself in identifying true facts.
Psychological manipulation is not a new aspect of human or animal behaviour. It is aimed at socially influencing and changing the behaviours or perception of others, through the art of deception, and sometimes abuse. This article is focused on the deception aspect, and it is through this act that the manipulator advances their own interest at the expense of others through exploitation. So how does this fit into cryptocurrency and “crypto” related social media platforms?
The cryptocurrency market is speculative in its nature and this contributes to the volatility of market price action. Price action in the cryptocurrency market tends to act quickly to the sentiment of news and current affairs, regulatory updates, speculation, hacking and the release of new currencies, to name a few.
Through the author’s experience, especially on crypto related social media platforms, there is divided opinion on whether the price action is caused by general human behavioural actions and emotions, by manipulation by whale groups or both.
This article aims to investigate this notion.
In relation to the above, whale groups in cryptocurrency are an individual, a group of individuals or an institution, that hold large amounts of cryptocurrency. From the widespread perception that cryptocurrency is fully decentralised, this aspect provides an element of contradiction to that concept. A report by Bloomberg in December 2017 stated that 40% of Bitcoin was held by around 1,000 individuals. This suggests the potential disproportionate influence that a whale group could have on the market.
Negative and Positive Influencing Tactics by Whale Groups
Negative Tactics (Aggressive & Confrontation)
It is with this influence and dominance that whale groups like to use shrewd tactics to not only affect market price, but also to get to mass cryptocurrency participants and followers to believe in the information that they are broadcasting. If whale groups collude and plan on how to support each other’s concepts, this can strongly sway the emotional behaviour and sentiment towards the market, but also individual coins / tokens.
It has been reported on cryptocurrency social media platforms that a tactic implemented by whale groups to control, what they perceive to be as negative information against them, (or those who have spoken out against them), is to employ “hitmen” to discredit the undesirable statements. It is believed “hitmen” can be one or a group of individuals who work together to take down the credibility of these accounts, thus strengthening the whales desired sentiment of their followers. A clever tactic indeed!
Positive Tactics (Enticing & Persuasive)
The author also finds it important for the reader to recognise that there are other tactics employed by whale groups that are less confrontational, and are quite the opposite of “hitmen” and antagonistic behaviour. One of the these such tactics is informally described as “circle jerking”.
“Circle jerking” (in the metaphorical sense) is a term that you may have seen crop up on social media of late. It references self-congratulatory behaviour among a group of people, which others portray to be overhyped and unjust laudatory. If a “circle jerking” approach was to be employed by whales, this could build a positive influence that could stimulate a typical “crypto”participant into believing everything a whale states, without questioning facts and fundamentals.
Both of these are very clever tactics, however they are contrasting in their approach. The reader must be able to weave their way through this emotional and behavioural puzzle, to determine facts from fiction. The skill to emotional detach yourself from such sensitive information will come through time, experience and self-education, but having an awareness to both is a good place to start.
Jealousy v Power Struggles
A social media battle that can be extremely interesting to a regular “crypto”participant is when opposing whale groups clash for superiority. This confrontation can cause a flood of conflicting information to extent to a large number of people / accounts. The information typically received from these accounts is assumed as being safe and correct, with decent technical and fundamental advice provided for their loyal followers.
Due to the aforementioned battle, this information could be considered as being warped in some respects, as it is being provided with emotion by both sides to gain the upper hand. Tribalistic behaviour is a very primitive trait and is the advocation of strong loyalty to one’s own tribe or social group. This pack mentality could cause others to join (some of whom you may consider as friendly accounts) in taking sides. This is something the reader must also refrain from doing, if you cannot be clear on the information, you cannot make an informed decision. This applies to investing or trading a coin / token in Technical Analysis, and it should form part of your decision-making process when reviewing this as “Information Analysis”.
Some argue that power struggles are to gain the upper hand of influence, while others claim it is simply jealousy clouding people’s judgement of others progressing on their path. Whichever it maybe, it is a distraction to your path in progressing in “crypto”. It is beneficial to draw yourself back during events such as these, as you can never be sure what is correct due to the lack of clarity on the information. Through stepping back and maintaining a patient approach, you can see this play out from a safe position, and capitalise when you begin to see information in a more clearer light. The author would also advise backing your decisions up with more alternative and reliable sources.
Crypto on Social Media: Correct Policing v Bullying
There is an ongoing debate that can somewhat be recognised as the overspill from the above “whale games”, when people start calling others out on “crypto” social media platforms. The argument is, are we correct to police ourselves in cryptocurrency or is it borderline bullying without knowing the true facts?
Knowing the difference between the above opposing stances is where to start:
· To call some out “crypto” social media is when someone perceives the other to be lying and misleading others, or is causing damage to the community through dishonesty, usually aimed at strengthening their own position at the expense of others.
· A bully’s aim would be to seek to harm, intimidate, or coerce someone perceived as vulnerable. In application of “crypto” social media this could be aimed as accounts with less influence as them, or opposing views to them.
In realisation of the above, the author would deem calling someone out who is causing damage with intent to others as being just. The problem lies with it is very hard to know who is actually damaging others intently in a world of such anonymity. There have been clear examples of when private messages have been made public as evidence, which is hard to argue against.
If you were to deem there was enough evidence that there was to “call out a scammer” make sure you do it in the correct way, and refrain from not to over spilling into unnecessary or personal hate. This is where a line could be classed as being crossed.
In summary, it may seem like an impossible task to separate the genuine information from the false, to pick a side, to know who to trust. You are right! In some cases in is impossible.
The author hopes that in cases such as these, that you have now been provided with the back story of why information is being released in this way. If you have a realisation of this, you can make your decisions with more patience, thought and care, to ensure you are not being “lead down the garden path” (an early 1900’s phrase) like the rest of the masses.
Some of the best decisions that you will make in the world of cryptocurrency is the decisions that you do not act upon, the trades that you do not enter, the conflicts that you drawback from contesting.
“He that can have patience can have what he will.” (Benjamin Franklin)
Closing Statement by The Author
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About Crypto Strong
Crypto Strong is a freelance cryptocurrency content writer, as well as a passionate contributor in Technical Analysis and Charting.
Honesty and integrity are paramount values to Crypto Strong, he continually helps cryptocurrency followers, both new and old, progress in this up and coming industry.
Crypto Strong is passionate about autism awareness and is a fitness enthusiast, also helping many people in both of these fields.
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