Culture Hack

Culture Hack

Diamond Hands Are Forever: How Reddit Initiated a New Era of The Stock Market

When most people would think of the stock market prior to 2021, some dramatic scene similar to The Wolf of Wall Street would probably come to mind. It seemed like investing was only for people who were incredibly persuasive or could afford the disappointments and really profit of the possible reward. Only the self-proclaimed wolves had any impact on the ebbs and flows of Wall Street while the sheep watched from the stands. But, in this new pandemic-informed society where anything feels possible from the comfort of our homes, the sheep are the ones breaking records and changing the market mentality. And, for the most part, it’s all thanks to Reddit.

Since 2012, the Reddit page r/wallstreetbets has been the hub for a new group of investors who aimed to make the stock market more accessible. In the nine years of its existence, the page cultivated a culture, consisting of Wall Street-related memes and definitions, that doesn’t aim to make money; the goal is really to risk it all. This became evident to mainstream media at the start of 2021, when struggling video game retailer GameStop experienced an unexpected surge in its investments. A group of retail traders shocked the market, going against the traditional investor activity. This turn of events, along with other unusual stock market rises, has been called “The GameStop Saga.”

The GameStop Saga was a Reddit meme-turned-newsworthy change of stock market behavior with the help of the Robinhood app, which is now the most popular stocks app due to its no-fee options trading. But it also spoke volumes to how much society has changed in the past year. With most of life put on pause, the volatility of most markets, and the desire to live on the edge however possible, more people found a leisurely interest in investing. Resources that not only simplified but made stocks more enjoyable like Wall Street Bets put an emphasis on the means of investing rather than the ends.  The page developed a culture of extreme behavior and the more people put their personal finances on the line to walk the walk of the most popular subreddit users, the more the page became a thrilling place to virtually be. 

While the Reddit page acted as a guiding force to get people to exercise their financial power, it also reworked the way we might all see the market from here on out. With slang like “diamond hands” (which means holding an option even after extreme losses or gains) and the reliance of memes to often express the woes and triumphs of taking a chance, the market was suddenly open to the sheep it often shunned. The appeal of get-rich-quick ideals is what gathered an audience of millions to Wall Street Bets but the encouragement and constant tips from members of the page is what inspired users to take part in the stocks. 

Now that r/wallstreetbets has the world’s eyes on its threads, one thing grows increasingly certain: the gate keeping of financial gain and investments no longer exists. The same people who would say they would put money into a failing retailer now have the means to do so all in the pursuit of  “diamond hands” forever.