The Snowballing Sentiment About Silicon Valley Bank On Social Media

Like many of you, I spent a few days this last week at SXSW, catching up with people and chatting about technology, digital media and fintech.  Not very surprisingly, the primary topic of conversation centered on Silicon Valley Bank and what happened and what may likely happen as a result of its failure.

I learned a lot about the SVB situation from people who are smarter than me (my favorite kind of people).  I became more educated on the inputs that led up to the collapse of the bank, but the facts were primarily scattered through a morass of opinions, only exacerbated by the deluge of social media.

Probably the most impactful sentence uttered to me came from a venture capitalist, who said, “I wish Twitter would ban VCs from posting their opinions for a week and let this situation work itself out.”

As soon as the news started rolling out, it snowballed on social media.  Things went from bad to “cataclysmic” in a matter of hours.  It hit an apex when my in-laws called and asked if they should pull all their money from their bank because the banks were about to collapse. 



The mainstream media had picked up the story and were fueling the fires of fear across their audience in the hope to gain eyeballs and impressions.

And every person who had ever worked in the start-up community in and around Silicon Valley had their opportunity to post their opinion on social media. The most influential people were among the most outspoken about the negative impact of the collapse, signaling their portfolio to pull their money and set up shop in other places.

It was an amazing case of the town crier signaling the “redcoats are coming” at a pitch and volume unavailable to Paul Revere.

Meanwhile a full country away on the East Coast, government agencies were having crisis meetings over the weekend to determine how to best solve this challenge and protect the economy from the reverberations of the SVB collapse.  I don’t always agree with politicians and government decision making, but you have to agree they are here to try and help (with “try” being the operative word). 

They had to do something, and they did.  They quickly guaranteed 100% of the deposits with no impact on taxpayers, and this provided some breathing room for the companies and individuals who were going to be affected.

By the way, I had to remind someone who commented that they "couldn’t understand why nothing was being done yet,” that this all happened on Friday afternoon, and it was then Sunday morning.  Social media had so taken over the news cycle and dominated the conversation that it was almost impossible to believe this had not even been two days at that point.  By day three, a solution appeared to have been met and things were going to be at least somewhat OK  All that conjecture and all those opinions only served to create stress and anxiety over the weekend, adding fuel to an already frightening situation for many.

Social media has some positive elements to it, but too often it fans the fires of negativity, which creates more negative impact on the people who already feel it.  How can we find a way back to some normalcy where social media’s positives outweigh the negative?  Maybe social media could act like the bank and suspend unverified opinions from commenting in times of disarray, only allowing the voices of sanity and fact propagation at the helm?

Some of you may feel this is censorship.  It is not.  It is the preservation of sanity.  Our culture could benefit from fewer people with the power to create negativity in times when patience and thoughtfulness are warranted.


1 comment about "The Snowballing Sentiment About Silicon Valley Bank On Social Media".
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  1. Phil Guarascio from PG Ventures LLC, March 15, 2023 at 2:13 p.m.

    well said. naysayers will always come out first in a crisis as was the case here. and many are only involved at the edge of the situation; no "touch and feel". quality of input ALWAYS the issue. any reolution of your pont should revolve around this "quality of input" issue


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