Overcoming the Echo Chamber That Is FPL Twitter

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This is Part 2 of the Overcoming FPL series, where we analyze how mental shortcuts and cognitive biases affect our FPL decisions, and what up-and-coming managers can do to change their behavior.

Part 1: Overcoming the ROT in making FPL Decisions

I really really really enjoy being a member of FPL Twitter. Our community is willing to help anyone, whether you are a contributor, lurker, or influencer, and will even talk to complete strangers with the same passions and goals of succeeding in Fantasy Premier League.

In my other pursuits, both professionally and for leisure activities, I have been a part of some very toxic social media circles. While I can’t speak for every interaction on the platform of course, FPL Twitter has been the exact opposite from my experience. Following some of the top minds in the game has improved my finishes exponentially over the years. 

However, for every early starting lineup revealed, bit of injury news reported, and each other great piece of advice tweeted into the community to help our decisions, there are a number of decisions that may also be negatively influenced by the Echo Chamber that is FPL Twitter and social media in general. 

An Echo Chamber is a circumstance we get ourselves into where we tend to listen to and interact with those whose opinions are similar to our own. The typical result is that our beliefs are amplified and our biases are reinforced by the people we are following. This phenomenon is very common with political preferences and exacerbated even further during contentious election seasons.

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While Fantasy Football doesn’t have political division, we may indeed have the tendency to listen to the “great ideas” put forth by our own Echo Chamber while ignoring the dissenting opinions outside our filter bubble. This brings up two very important questions in how we handle our social media consumption. 

  1. Are all of these “great ideas” really great ideas?
  2. If not, then what can we do to overcome the biases that we have created for ourselves in the Echo Chamber?

The figure above tracks Twitter keyword mentions over time for Max Kilman within the FPL community. You can clearly see a huge spike in interest based on his massive 12 point performance this week for Wolves, which included an assist and a clean sheet. He is certainly now on many managers’ radars, especially as we look to cheapen our defenses as the goals continue to fly in.

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So now FPL Twitter is telling me that the Wolves’ man is this year’s great 4.0M option in defense, following in the prestigious footsteps of the likes of AWB and John Lundstram. Well, that makes it easy. Transfer locked for GW6! 

But have you taken the time to think for yourself whether Max Kilman is really the best option to spend your precious transfer on for the upcoming gameweek? This is important because literally a day later, Twitter had already moved on to a new 4.0M defender…

Just like Results-Oriented Thinking, allowing the Echo Chamber to make your decisions for you is another classic trap for FPL managers. Here are some quick ways to snap yourself out of it and into making your own decisions.

Is There No One Else?!

Just because you see one player’s name trending heavily on social media does not mean that he is the best or only option in that position for a similar price. While I use a social media analytics tool to pull the keyword data above, there are some simple ways to see which players are trending and which players may have been forgotten, but could offer significant upside as a differential.

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Try this: Create a list of 4-5 other options in a similar price bracket and look each one up using Twitter’s search feature. “Name #FPL” as a search query usually returns the most relevant results. Hopefully, you will learn something about a player that may not be getting enough attention in your own feed. 

It’s Not Always About the Numbers Though

A word of warning: A lot of buzz or mentions around a specific player isn’t necessarily always a good sign. Sentiment is also important. If all the posts on social media are talking about how rubbish the player is, then that’s probably not a good sign either. Make sure to take the time to go deeper on what people are actually saying about the player you’re considering transferring in.

Try this: Add another keyword into your search to temperature check how people are talking about the player in question. “Good” and “Bad” are two of the most common keywords that appear across all posts with the #FPL hashtag.

Like Everything… or Nothing

One of the ways that social media, and other user-generated content-curated platforms, serve up such relevant information is that they know exactly what you like and don’t like. Everytime you engage with a post, Twitter gets one more data point on the type of posts that you like to see and/or interact with. 

Try this: Either (1) Like a wider array of posts – the more, the better –  to keep your social media networks guessing so you’ll be served a wider array of content, or (2) Like nothing at all. 

Don’t Go to Your Home!

Remember when your Facebook feed was actually a timeline? Quite some time ago, most of the social media platforms either changed the default or removed the ability entirely to view posts based on recency. This only intensifies the effect of the Echo Chamber by pushing the voices that you think you want to hear straight to the top of your feed. 

Try this: Always sort Twitter by “Latest Tweets” instead of the “Home” setting to not let social media algorithms determine what content you see. Use it while you can! This option will likely go away at some point. 

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Don’t Exclusively Live in Fantasyland 

Finally, it is critical that we cultivate our information from a wider range of sources. If you look down your “Following” list and FPL content creators are your only sources of information, then it might be time to diversify. No offense, but many of the best content creators have never played or coached the game at a high enough level to analyze performances meaningfully. We have to view matches through a very specific lens of course, but having some additional viewpoints in your feed will be helpful for additional context. 

Try this: Follow hashtags for Cup and European competitions to see outside (non-FPL) opinions on how our top players are performing midweek. 

An Echo Chamber is a dangerous place for our minds to reside in, especially in the moments leading up to the FPL deadlines each week. Luckily, we all have the ability to break free and think for ourselves to make sure that our transfers and starting 11s are our own and not decided upon by the masses of social media!

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