How Internet Culture Is Affecting Investment and Free Stock Trades
The stock market is constantly evolving, and the GameStop saga is proof of that. James Ledbetter, chief content officer of Clarim Media and fintech expert, Alexis Goldstein, senior policy analyst at Americans for Financial Reform, and Christine Lagorio-Chafkin, senior tech writer for Inc. and author of We Are the Nerds: The Birth and Tumultuous Life of Reddit, the Internet’s Culture Laboratory, recently discussed how technology, specifically Reddit, is enabling coordinated investment and free stock trades.
For starters, Reddit has introduced a new way of trading stocks. “I mean, it’s like tens of thousands of different communities,” explained Lagorio-Chafkin. “Of course, everyone’s learned about it through Wall Street. But you know, Reddit itself is a fascinating place where people post anonymously or pseudonymously, as they like to call it, under usernames that may or may not represent who they are as a person. It’s folks from all walks of life.”
Lagorio-Chafkin elaborated on how Reddit provided GameStop with this financial boost. “I think what we saw [in January], was obviously a bunch of sort of amateur day traders who come together in a group called WallStreetBets, and we can’t really make any assumptions about who they are,” she said. “A lot of mainstream media has been saying that they are these non-affluent, casual, young, male traders who want to just have a piece of the pie. And this community has been very active in the last two weeks saying, ‘OK, they’re underestimating us; we actually know what we’re doing, and this is actually just our fun money. So we’re having fun with it.’ And I think that’s a good way to look at Reddit as a whole. It’s like a big mirror of the internet. It’s not any one thing. Yes, it skews male. Yes, it skews young. But that’s not everyone on the site. So I think it’s worth taking every generalization with a grain of salt.”
Despite what’s happened with the GameStop saga, Ledbetter believes “Reddit’s not going away.” In fact, Reddit seems to be thriving more than ever these days. “This particular subreddit is not going away,” he continued. “If anything, it’s probably attracted a huge number of participants in the last week or so.”