Daily Insights

Reddit: The Internet’s Underdog

By: Alizah Asif Farooqi | Jan 28, 2021

If you’re wondering why Reddit’s tagline is “The front page of the internet.”, a look at today’s stock market might hint at the answer. A few months ago, a group of Reddit users bet big on GameStop despite Wall Street predictions of the nostalgic company’s eventual failure. A 14,300% stock value increase and an Elon Musk tweet later, the plucky platform finds itself at the center of an economic tornado of epic proportions. 

Dubbed “r/WallStreetBets”, the stock trading community of 3.8 million and counting united on Reddit to level up GameStop’s struggling presence on the market in what some are describing as a ponzi scheme that won’t last. But, last it did. In fact, the group copied and pasted their underdog strategy to ailing movie chain AMC soon after. And BlackBerry. And the one still-standing Blockbuster store in Bend, Oregon. Even Tootsie Roll got a taste of the high life thanks to the wallets of r/WallStreetBets. As such, Wall Street (the real one) went wild as fading brands were dusted off for several rounds of unexpected buying and selling that put the market in rollercoaster mode. 

While the war between online traders and billionaire investors wages on, Reddit and Robinhood take the spotlight as two of the most influential digital platforms around. Reddit, a seasoned revolutionist, and Robinhood, a fintech darling, have not only cut out the quintessential middle man, they’ve sent the world into a tailspin of money, memes, and memories. Indeed, the power of nostalgia can’t be denied as it continues to reign supreme as one of the most popular consumer trends of the moment. Companies including Mattel, General Mills, Champion, and Burger King have all tapped into the trend for recent digital campaigns and product launches, so it makes sense that Reddit users would indulge in childhood go-tos like GameStop and BlockBuster. 

But it’s not all “eat the rich”. Robinhood, which touts the slogan “Democratizing finance for all.”, faces a slew of criticism about not living up to its mission. Redditors, on the other hand, are being warned that “sticking it to the Hedge-Fund Man may come with a hefty price tag.” That said, though it may soon be endgame(stop) for the internet’s game of stock roulette, the same can’t be said for the mark in economic and digital history that’s been made. Stocks may rise and fall, but memes are forever.