In late January and into early February the stock price for American video game, consumer electronics, and gaming merchandise retailer GameStop skyrocketed. The 1,700 percent surge came mostly from the social media platform Reddit and, more specifically, the subreddit r/WallStreetBets.
A younger investing audience is now taking note.
Investors are part of a youth movement with the information to buy not only being talked about on r/WallStreetBets and shared as memes on Reddit but on other social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter and TikTok.
The youth movement mostly started through stock trading and investing apps like Robinhood, which tried to get a younger audience through lowering minimum deposit and commissions and, when originally launched in 2015, had an average age of 26 years old.
Isaiah Kirk, a former Delta College student, said he has considered investing, but with pause. “I have always viewed the stock market as very emotionally driven and volatile. The recent events have only reinforced that thought process,” Kirk said. “There is always an inherent risk. I love being involved, but only put money that I am willing to lose after thorough research.”
The sudden surge in Gamestop “did make me think more about investing,” said Las Positas College student Rachael Lucas.
“But despite what I’ve learned about the stock market I still think it is an unpredictable way to make money I’d like to continue learning more about before I am willing to jump head in to head on,” she said.
As well as being about a stock boom some saw this as something that goes beyond the money. “It exposed some injustices that would usually go unnoticed. It made me more interested in supporting politicians that would regulate the markets in favor of everyday Americans,” said Lucas.
Justin Alvarez, a student at University of California Berkeley, also got more interested after seeing the reaction of companies to the rise in Gamestop stocks.
“Especially after learning a bit about “shorts” and how the companies like Robinhood screwed over the Reddit community by calling what they did ‘market manipulation’ even though it’s exactly what the hedge fund managers do to make profit,” Alvarez said.
Some involved believe that this was a definite win for the little guy.
“I think it is kind of humorous. The common person was able to get a leg up in a sense, it created a new sense of opportunity. Social media has made these events far easier to organize. All of this to say that the whole ‘David vs Goliath’ story doesn’t have to be a once in a lifetime story,” Kirk said.