The GameStop frenzy in late January forced Wall Street to pay attention to retail investors like never before.
The r/WallStreetBets community piled into the video game retailer’s stock and options, triggering a short squeeze and leaving short sellers with huge losses.
In the aftermath, Wall Street and news outlets dove deep into subreddit to understand how this happened. WallStreetBets’ unique mix of self-deprecating, camaraderie and tongue-in-cheek humor captured and identified with the American public.
“In the way they define themselves, they are setting up ‘this is who we are’ and that can bring people in,” College of Charleston communication professor Ryan Milner said. “There really is a power in the collectivism happening on WallStreetBets.”
Here’s an explainer on why these collective actions are becoming more common, the role memes play in these situations and what’s next for retail investing.