Okay, so I’ve seen a fair amount spoken on this topic on Twitter recently, and a fair bit last season, so I thought I would have my say from the way I see it.
I fell victim to ‘group think’ and the noise of Twitter in 17/18 season where I had a shocking season and finished 706,652 after finishing circa 11,832 the season before – when I wasn’t writing content and wasn’t that active in the Twitter community.
After I started to produce content for the community and subsequently began to grow, I found myself debating and discussing every single idea I had for my team with others in the community.
I enjoyed it. It’s part of what I love about football and FPL, having these debates etc however, the key difference between my 11k overall finish year in 16/17 and the poor year in 17/18, was that I wasn’t discussing every aspect of my decisions with others.
In 16/17, I listened to the ScoutCast from FantasyFootballScout and in particular, Mark Sutherns, for my FPL content and just looked at the press conferences for team news, but that was it.
I didn’t read lots of different posts on FPL, I didn’t watch any other content providers and I never listened to any other podcasts about it AND, more crucially, I didn’t dive into group chats on Twitter or threads on FPL to discuss what I was going to do with my team week to week.
I trusted my own decisions and I stuck to them, so how can I get back to that now that I’m part of the Twitter FPL community and more importantly, how do I maintain it?
Avoiding Group Think and the Twitter Noise via ‘Funnelling’
So after my poor season, I, of course, self-reflected and self-analysed to try to better understand what went wrong in the shit season, and yeah, of course, there were some poor decisions and a few lapses in judgement but, the main reason I put it down to, is that I wasn’t trusting my gut feelings and my own judgments.
I noticed much more, that I was having conversations about my team with elite managers – having been invited to a lot of group chats – and finding that they’d be saying 1 thing and I would be saying another, and then my sub-conscious mind would be shouting at my conscious mind to not listen, yet my conscious mind would reason: “How can we ignore the insights and advice of such quality managers?”
Well this, admittedly, is the difficult part.
Now I’m not suggesting that you should ignore advice or insight from top managers, you should definitely listen, especially if you’re a beginner/intermediate manager trying to get better – the key is finding select sources or people you trust and sticking with them rather than opening it up to lots of others.
As I said before, part of this game, being part of the FPL Twitter community, is about the social aspect, the debates, the chat, the content etc.
You shouldn’t lose that because it IS enjoyable, but if you’re constantly talking over all your decisions week to week with lots of other managers, if you’re scrolling through your timeline and actively reading everyone else’s opinions, YOUR own judgement will become clouded and you’ll be more inclined to follow the herd blindly as your own assertions become lost in the social vacuum that is FPL Twitter.
Once it’s lost, you’ll find yourself toing and froing all the way up to the deadline, and simply guessing at who to choose, rather than engaging your own judgement based off a select few trusted quality sources/individuals, and going with it.
So here’s what I attempted last season to help me re-engage my own assertions and to help stick with them and I finished with a much better overall finish of 83k:
- Form a loose plan on captain and transfers just after the GW has ended without discussing it with anyone else and without looking at anything else
- Forget about FPL when it comes to your team (this is essential)
- When you log in to Twitter, DO NOT actively discuss your loose plan with others, but rather, discuss and debate their decisions with them and anything else you find interesting to talk about
- You can continue to scroll through your Twitter timeline but just be disciplined with yourself and don’t discuss your initial plan
- Avoid joining lots of group chats – just have a few that you enjoy being part of
- Find a few sources you trust that provide useful, engaging and enjoyable content – shut out the rest
- If you need to make your moves early because potential price changes might stop you from doing your intended moves, then make them
- Otherwise, wait until the press conferences are finished and come back to your loose plan to see if you still feel the same way
I found this worked for me well. 9 times out of 10 come Friday or Saturday morning, I found my initial plan had not changed much, if at all, with the exception of injuries or team news of course.
Even if it has changed, this way, you should have a clearer picture in mind on what you want to do, as by following the above steps, you have funnelled the mass amount of noise on Twitter into a smaller, more manageable stream of useful information that your brain can more easily dissect in order to structure a plan of action.
By forming an initial plan without the help of anything or anyone else early on, you’re engaging YOUR own thinking/judgements, and by being disciplined and avoiding talking about your plans in the week leading up to the next GW, you avoid ‘Group Think’ and instead, you give your initial plan sustenance by feeding it with a select few quality sources/individuals rather than a barrage of noise from the wider community.
A word on being a content provider and playing FPL
I don’t consider myself an elite manager by any stretch of the imagination, but I consider myself to know enough now, to get up there with the best and I’ve had the experience of moving from a casual player (2008-13), to an intermediate player (2014-16), to a full on addicted player (from the 16/17 season onwards) where I finally began to do research and started to take it very seriously.
I’ve also had the experience of going from a player of FPL, to a content provider and a player of FPL, and this transition is also difficult, as you cannot advise others when you simply have a ‘gut feel’ about a player, because, where’s the logic in it?
So then of course, you advocate ‘the logical’, backed up by insight or stats, and find yourself going with that because, well, if you’re advising others to do a certain thing, then why wouldn’t you follow your own advice?
Answer is, you wouldn’t… but you should sometimes.
Because what may be logical for the masses out there, may not be logical for your own team.
As content providers, we always have to advise what is best from a general perspective, as we cannot know the individual situations of each manager, but each situation is different, including your own, so don’t get sucked into thinking that because your captain article advises to captain Salah that you cannot captain anyone else.
You have more information on your own situation, thus the analysis on what’s best for your team may end up being different to the general advice you give others on your content, but don’t let that sway you.
Treat your own team as separate from the content you provide and you should find that things fall into place more so than before.