comma, the Spanish independent communications consultancy firm, has published the first investigation of the conversation generated on Social Media (SM) around news and content published about the cryptoassets and blockchain industry in the media. The investigation, carried out by comma’s research team, analyzes how these contents are viralized, what kind of coverage creates more traction on SM, and which media are more prone to publish certain news, overrepresenting some topics of the sector and underrepresenting others.
The analysis also determines how this information permeates public opinion, by promoting a series of narratives and messages that shape an image of digital assets and blockchain among the general public. Finally, the effect of all of the above on the reputation of the crypto industry is analyzed and a series of recommendations are offered to players in the sector to work together to achieve more in-depth media coverage.
The research focuses on news published in 2022 in Spain about the cryptoassets and blockchain sector, when 169,761 news items were disseminated by 2,698 media outlets. There were 255,022 posts on SM with 61,201 news items by 35,265 unique users. The analysis is divided in two phases:
- The first one examines in a qualitative and expository way the digital conversation that took place around the cryptoasset and blockchain industry, according to the links that had the most circulation and impact on the publications’ social media profiles, and divided into five categories: crypto ecosystem, generalists, financial, business and technology. It is based on a ranking of the top 30 – 50 news items analyzed during the quarter in each of the media categories according to identified thematic blocks. A discursive analysis of these news items is also carried out.
- The second phase delves into the narratives or debates that emerge from the dissemination of the news and unpacks what has been talked about within the cryptoassets and blockchain sector, how these narratives, conversations or debates relate to each other, and what common content territories or bridging media are found within the social-digital debate.
The report identified the narrative and media coverage trends around the crypto sector in 2022. The main ones are:
- Industry and innovation
- Other cryptoassets
“We detect an apparent negative correlation between the viralisation of a piece of news and its degree of specialisation / quality of the reference to the sector: the greater the reach and circulation of a story, the less directly related it is to the cryptoasset industry” explains Noemi Jansana, consultant specialised in financial markets & digital assets, and one of the authors of the report.
The key outcomes from the report are:
- Three major narrative blocks were distinguished: ‘BTC’, ‘Investment’ and ‘Industry‘ which evolve throughout the year.
- News with a negative impact tends to go more viral, but when it comes to the conversation on SM about industry news, there tends to be a more positive sentiment.
- Some topics appear oversized in terms of impact – the more generalist ones. They generate greater reach and dissemination, which ends up causing them to feedback to each other.
- There is a segmentation of media coverage -where each media outlet talks exclusively about certain issues- with little permeability between them. This leads to the appearance of opinion bubbles.
- As a result, there is a growing polarization in the social perception of the digital asset industry and blockchain, which is reflected in dual, dichotomous positions (you are either for or against).
- A reputational crisis in the sector is amplified by media treatment, revealing a gap between the industry and the media itself, which neither knows how to bridge and which generates a stigma around the sector.
Call to action: communication is power
A polarised situation usually leads to two reactions on the part of the group that is the subject of the debate. On the one hand, radicalization of positions and evangelization; on the other, distancing oneself from the polarised debate and continuing to construct parallel narratives so as not to be relegated to this dichotomy, although with the risk of remaining isolated.
From a PR and communication perspective, the way to gradually dilute the discursive polarisation of the blockchain and digital asset industry reflected in this in-depth analysis is for all players to become aware of the situation – with objective data and not merely by intuition – and start to act accordingly.
“There is a challenge but also a clear opportunity for private and public entities, associations and industry professionals to radically change to a proactive, professional, and conscious communication model” said Rosa Del Blanco, managing director at comma.
This exercise will undoubtedly require a change of attitude. It is a matter of abandoning some of the defensive, victimising or arrogant postures detected in the analysis in order to begin to create – under the umbrella of a coherent, planned, and unified communication strategy – bridges that facilitate the disappearance of echo chambers and biases. The ecosystem has the challenge and the opportunity to find an authentic voice and, from there, to participate in a more professional debate with society, correcting false interpretations and creating a unique narrative.
In the interest of going beyond words, Comma presented this report in Madrid in a debate with 40 professionals of the financial, blockchain and cryptoasset industries and journalists. Moreover, the company has issued the ‘comma, blockchain and digital assets’ unique token collection (NFT) linked to the report. With this NFT, created in association with PriorityGate, as a technology partner, the first step is taken and materializes the objective of creating a community capable of working in a coordinated and united way to start transforming the industry narratives from within. The bearers of this NFT are the foundational members of this community that aims in the medium and long term to consolidate this philosophy of co-creation of a new reality around digital assets.