An innocent foray into #CryptoTwitter
Imagine you’re looking for a room to rent. The first listing you visit is pristinely clean, as if brand new, and has no traces of previous occupants. It feels spacious as you enter the room, and it’s easy to picture yourself living here comfortably. It smells clean.
The second room you check out is distinctively “lived-in.” A lingering cloud of tamarind vape-juice greets you as you enter, and there is pizza on the floor for some reason. Three types of music are playing from three different speakers as the sensory overload hijacks your thoughts and your body twists into a reaction. Even though the fridge is open and the toilet has just been flushed, there is no one home. There are no eyes to plead to for relief.
You run out and slam the door. Above the peephole there isn’t a number but instead the words “Crypto Twitter,” written in blood and cotton candy.
Ask anyone who’s at least knee-deep in the crypto scene: Twitter is the land where Kings and Queens are created. BitRoyalty sing their own praises for twenty hours a week, then sit back and relish in the praise of their followers. Followers can start to build followings of their own simply by sending out praises, and a select few even rise up to royalty themselves.
Crypto Twitter isn’t entirely a medium of fame and flattery. There’s thoughtful discourse and fierce debates from some of the world’s greatest minds. There are movements of art which have sprung up an entire generation of collectors and full-time artists, who turn days-old NFT marketplaces into thriving world-class operations. #CT’s contribution to artists is arguably the platform’s most noble achievement – it’s heartwarming to read stories of the many lives transformed by NFTs sold through Twitter.
A Life Cybertronic
Crypto Twitter feels lived in for a good reason: lots and lots of people spend every waking moment there. “Spending your entire day on Twitter is a sign of being rich,” one Tweet read. It’s also easy to log hours on the platform if you’re laid off, living with your parents, or an investigative journalist trying to go full Gonzo on the #CT scene. You can get a good morning message from your favorite crypto personality every dawn, and a good night message every evening, just like they’re tucking you in. Many hearts and minds live here – that much is clear within ten seconds of scrolling.
I have to admit that I’ve resisted using Twitter for nearly a decade, although I’ve nursed an empty account since 2010. I’ve been addicted to plenty of other platforms in the meantime, including reddit and Instagram. The moment the Crypto Twitter buzz caught me I knew there was no looking back. My words had weight like they haven’t had for years, and I was able to walk right up to some of my most admired writers and plaster them with a random thought. Sometimes, they even hit the little heart. My little heart.
Within 24 hours, I was a mysterious NFT collector with generous pockets. Feeling like one of the traveling wizard-salesmen from Diablo, I discovered works of art that I genuinely liked, told artists how much I loved their work, and picked up prints as I went along. It wasn’t a big investment in the grand scheme of things, but nonetheless several artists gave me a public shoutout. It felt good – and then the DMs started rolling in.
“I know you from somewhere, I know it. Do you know Carrie xx irl?”
I didn’t know them, and I didn’t know Carrie. Their picture was a contorted Pepe the Frog. Mine was too, but with a different kind of contortion. Their Pepe was skinny and mine was fat. On top of that, my name was a fake wrester’s, surrounded by bitcoin emojis. I couldn’t glean any information from their profile other than the fact that they were some type of amphibian.
“I don’t think so. Maybe crypto scene?” I reply, cringing. It’s like two people in bubble suits trying to shake hands. We go back in forth for a while, and he (I even learn his name is Ren) starts getting more and more insistent that he knows me. I flatly tell him no, we don’t know each other, I’m sorry, to which he finally replied, “fuck u!” and I left it there.
Twitter can be a sounding board for our innermost thoughts, even those that we’d be afraid to share in real life. For me, expressing myself anonymously from behind a friendly frog was liberating. My voice grew in new directions and I was able to fearlessly contribute to hot-headed debates. Insofar as I could know my fellow frogs, I loved them as friends, though it felt a bit like trying to love that tamarind vape cloud before it fizzles off.
Waves of hivemind community trends came and went every season. There were Punks and Apes oscillating on and off of thrones. Nestled just slightly beneath the surface, where it’s cooler, was the Pepe the Frog crowd. They hadn’t changed their avatars in several years and stayed true to their belief that life should be enjoyed as if it were a meme. Some memes are ripples and some memes are waves. Pepe is an ocean.
After countless 5-hour Crypto Twitter binges, I had to stop. My fingers felt like they had made tons of friends, but the rest of me felt lonelier than ever. I bought some amazing art and connected with many passionate collectors, but mostly dealt with salespeople and wanna-be royalty. Will I return to Crypto Twitter? Probably. But I wouldn’t want to live in that room.