How I Talk About Bitcoin on Thanksgiving – Bitcoin Magazine
This is an opinion editorial by Joakim Book, a fellow at the American Institute for Economic Research, contributor and copy editor for Bitcoin Magazine, and a writer on all things money and financial history.
That’s it. That’s the article.
In all honesty, that’s the whole message: Just don’t do it. It’s not worth it.
You’re not an excited teenager anymore, in desperate need to brag or test out your newfound wisdom. You are not a preaching priestess with lost souls to save right before some imminent arrival of the day of reckoning. We have time.
Instead: just leave people alone. Seriously. They came to Thanksgiving dinner to relax and enjoy family, laugh, tell stories and zone out for a day – not to be assaulted with what to them will sound like a confused ramble on an obscure subject they couldn’t care less. Even if it is the monetary system, which no one understands anyway.
If you’re not convinced by this Dale Carnegie-esque social approach, and you still naively believe that your meager words between bites can change anyone’s view on anything, here are some more serious reasons why you Do not do it talk to friends and family about the Bitcoin protocol – but certainly not bitcoin, the asset:
- Your family and friends won’t hear it. Move on.
- For op-sec reasons, you don’t want to draw unnecessary attention to the fact that you probably have a decent bitcoin stack. Hopefully family and close friends should be safe enough to confide in, but people talk and that gossip can only hurt you.
- People find bitcoin interesting only when they are ready to; everyone gets the price they deserve. As Gigi says in “21 Lessons:”
“Bitcoin will be understood by you soon you are ready and I also believe that the first fractions of a bitcoin will find you as soon as you are ready to receive them. Essentially, everyone will get ₿itcoin at exactly the right time.”
It is highly unlikely that your uncle or mother-in-law happens to be at that stage, just when you sit down to dinner.
- Unless you can claim youth, old age, or extreme poverty, there are very few people who really haven’t heard of bitcoin. That means your evangelism will not be preaching to lost, ignorant souls who are ready to be saved, but to the tired, hunched over and exhausted masses who could care less about the discovery that will change their society more than the internal combustion engine, the internet and the large government together. Big deal.
- What is the case, however, is that everyone in your potential audience has already had a couple of touchpoints and rejected bitcoin for this or that standard FUD. It is a scam; seems strange; it is dead; let us trust the central bankers, who have the best for us.
No amount of FUD blasting changes this impression, because no one holds uninformed beliefs for rational reasons, reasons that can be overturned by your enthusiastic arguments between wiping off cranberry sauce and grabbing another slice of turkey.
- It’s really bad form to talk about money – and bitcoin is the best money around. Be stylish.
Now, I’m not saying I’ll never talk about Bitcoin. We love to talk Bitcoin – that’s why we go to meetups, join Twitter Spaces, write, code, run nodes, listen to podcasts, attend conferences. People there few something about this monetary rebellion and have chosen to be a part of it. Your unsuspecting family members have not; ambush them with the wonders of multisig, the magically fast lightning transactions or how they too really need to get on this hype train, like yesterday, is unlikely to go well.
But if someone comes up to you one-on-one during your post-dinner break on the front porch, whiskey in hand and an inquisitive mind, that’s a whole different story. It’s personal rather than public, and it’s without the time constraints that usually bother us. It involves clarifying questions or doubts for someone who is both expressively curious about the topic and available for the lecture. It is rare – cherish it, and nurture it.
Last year I wrote something about the proper role of political conversations in social settings. Since November was also an election month, it is appropriate to quote here:
“Politics, I’m beginning to believe, belongs best in the closet – rebranded and brought out for the specific occasion. Or perhaps the bedroom, with those you most trust, love and respect. Not in public, not with strangers, not with friends, and certainly not with other people in your community. Clean it from your being as much as you can and refuse to let political issues invade the areas of our lives that we value; politics and political disagreements do not belong there and our lives are too important to allow them to be governed by (mostly contrived) political disagreements.”
If anything, those words ring truer today than they did then. And I submit to you that the same is true for bitcoin.
Everyone has some kind of impression or opinion about bitcoin – and most of them are completely wrong. But there’s nothing people love more than a savior in white armour, riding in to clear their wrongs about something they’re completely clueless about. Just like politics, nobody cares.
Leave them alone. They will find bitcoin in their own time, just like we all did.
This is a guest post by Joakim Book. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.