Chapter 6: 21st-century media and issues
English 102, March 2021
For my research essay, I will be taking a look and analyzing an online community where writing, reading and communication take place. The online community that has gained my interest for this research essay is the reddit community, r/wallstreetbets. This community has gained a massive amount of attention recently with the rise in GameStop and AMC stock. This rise in stock and investments was organized by the members of r/wallstreetbets. With the large amount people investing in these stocks and it being organized on r/wallstreetbets, controversy was soon to come. I think it will be interesting to look at what they people of the reddit were discussing during this time and how the outside world reacted. Hearing firsthand experiences from the members of the reddit community will offer a good insight into the communication that takes place. Also, looking at other stock market related reddit communities and comparing them to r/wallstreetbets would make for a good discussion.
I will start the essay with some background information on the past recent events of the mass investing in GameStop and other dying companies. Then I will bring up how it relates to the reddit community r/wallstreetbets and what role the community played. Giving some basic background on the subreddit and then how it overall relates to reading, writing, communication. Also, mentioning how the communication done on the subreddit has a significant impact on our economy.
For the next section, the focus will be shifted into giving some background on what reddit is and explaining some general terms used on reddit that might come up in the essay. I will be using and paraphrasing from “Ask me anything: what is Reddit?” by Katie Elson Anderson. This academic article provided good background information on how reddit started and was able to explain a good understanding of reddit. Some aspects of reddit I want to explain in this section are what is the voting system, what are communities and users, and the terms that go along with these. With thus article and my writing, I hope to answer the research question of “How is reading, writing, and communicating done on Reddit?”.
Now after giving some background and explanation of Reddit and the commonly used terms on the site, I want to focus specifically on r/wallstreetbets. Now taking a look at the commonly used terms and everything about their community. I want to discuss what “going to the moon” and “rocket” and other terms mean. Going over what a typical post can look like and what are the tops posts are on the page. I plan to use the academic article “WallStreetBets: Positions or Ban.” by Christian Boylston because it goes through an entire run through of the subreddit. Also, its especially helpful because it includes interviews with frequent members of the subreddit and their individual stories. Giving me an option to answer multiple of my research questions, specifically “What individual experiences have been shared r/wallstreetbets”. Another aspect is the communication linked with the community and how it’s done. I plan to use Ian Sherr’s article posted on CNET titled “Reddit’s WallStreetBets Had a Dramatic Wednesday Evening.” Which features information on the subreddits discord server where I plan to talk about how part of the subreddits communication is done through Discord which is a text and audio messaging platform.
Then I will be taking a look at how r/wallstreetbets differs from other stock related subreddits. Specifically, how a the more “professional” subreddit such as r/stocks differs from a more humorous but still serious, r/wallstreetbets. I want to analyze the different weekly top posts from each subreddit to compare the two. Draw attention to how a similar topic can be discussed and communicated through different ways. One of the main differences is how r/wallstreetbets more involved with memes and r/stocks is more information based. Doing this will help answer the possible research question of “How does r/wallstreetbets differ from other subreddits focused on the stock market?”. A good academic article to use for this section would be “Modelling Stock Market Manipulation in Online Forums.” by David Nam. This academic article provided information on different stock related subreddits which will be very beneficial for the comparisons to r/wallstreetbets.
Moving on, I will shift the focus onto the effect r/wallstreetbets has on the economy. I want to explain how the communication done on the subreddit has importance to the outside world. Specifically, with the subreddits recent rise in popularity with its mainstream exposure due to the mass investing into GameStop stock covered by many news outlets. I will try an explain the situation, with its backstory and how r/wallstreetbets was at the center of it. An important academic article for this section that I plan to use is “GameStop Capitalism. Wall Street vs. The Reddit Rally (Part I).” by Tim Di Muzio. This article has a lot of useful information for explaining the effect the subreddit has. Especially, with showing data of the effect it had on GameStop and explanations of how it affected hedge funds. Also, the article shares a personal experience posted on the subreddit of how the subreddit has positively affected his life. Possible research questions that could be answered from this section is “How were hedge funds exactly affected by the recent events of r/wallstreetbets?” and “How was r/wallstreetbets looked at before and after the recent events with the GameStop stock?”.
Continuing off of the last section that focused on the effect r/wallstreetbets has on the economy, I will be shifting onto the effect it has on the public. More specifically, the publics’ thoughts and reactions during the week of its largely increased popularity with the GameStop event. The main focus of this section will be answering the research question of “What are the outside/general public’s thoughts on r/wallstreetbets?”. I want to include some tweets and mention other social media posts that that will offer a substantial look at how the general people reacted. A good article for this would be Steven Asarch’s article posted on Insider titled “Reddit’s WallStreetBets Is Facing a Culture Divide as New Users Flood the Forum.”. This article puts focus on the more humorous aspect of it all, which will be helpful with capturing the general public’s reaction. On social media it was a huge topic and I plan to cover how it reacted through memes, skits, and informational posts.
Then in a new section I plan to discuss what the community r/wallstreetbets looks like now after the recent events and popularity. This will offer a fresh look at how the subreddit functions on a regular basis. I will mention specific posts from r/wallstreetbets as a source and discuss the relevance behind them. This will be creating a good comparison between how the subreddit was before, during, and after its mainstream popularity in the past weeks.
To wrap up this prospectus essay, I first want to answer the research question of “What academic fields can r/wallstreetbets be associated with?”. The main academic fields that are related to my topic of r/wallstreetbets are those related to mathematics with economic analysis, financial analysis, and business studies being the most prominent. Most of the academic articles are written by people who are stock and financial analyzers. Also, with the involvement of money and stocks comes complex numbers with math and graphs behind them.Finally, I want to move on to finishing the conclusion of my research essay where I want to recap the main points of the essay. I plan to write about how I believe that r/wallstreetbets will still have an influence in the future. Also, how I can see a similar stock market event like the GameStop one could happen again.
Alcantara, Chris. “Reddit’s /r/Wallstreetbets Astronomical Rise.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 29 Jan. 2021, www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2021/01/29/wallstreetbets-reddit-gamestop/. Accessed 29 Mar 2021.
One of the main points of this web article is to draw attention to the large amount of money involved and to show the hype of it all. Specifically, showing the hype with data of the huge increase in members of the subreddit. Also, a huge increase in downloads of the Robinhood investment app. This web article features graphs that are easy to understand and explains the data of the money simply. For example, 1.8 million new members joined the r/wallstreetbets during the recent hype.
Anderson, Katie Elson. “Ask me anything: what is Reddit?” Library Hi Tech News, vol 35, no. 5, 2015, https://doi.org/10.7282/T3D220BR.Accessed 28 Mar 2021.
This academic article is very beneficial because its main focus is explaining all things reddit. From the commonly used terms to the worst and best parts of the platform. Even giving a brief history behind its creation. This brief history will help with explaining how reddit began and who the creators were. Also, having the commonly used terms of reddit explained will be helpful in giving the readers background for future reference for when I use the terms in my essay.
Asarch, Steven. “Reddit’s WallStreetBets Is Facing a Culture Divide as New Users Flood the Forum.” Insider, Insider, 8 Feb 2021, www.insider.com/wallstreetbets-reddit-forum-divided-as-new-users-flood-subreddit-2021-2. Accessed 29 Mar 2021.
This web article is beneficial for this essay because it includes a post directly from the subreddit. Specifically, posts that are more “meme” and humor focused, based around GameStop and the overall hype surrounding the subreddit. The article then goes on to talk about how the subreddit has now changed from its original days. Also, it’s important to note that this article mentions a specific member of the subreddit who was an originator behind building the hype around GameStop. This member was being investigated for his involvement and was not able to post during this.
Boylston, Christian, et al. “WallStreetBets: Positions or Ban.” arXiv preprint arXiv:2101.12110, 28 Jan 2021, https://arxiv.org/abs/2101.12110. Accessed 28 Mar 2021.
This academic article has almost all information to do with the subreddit r/wallstreetbets. The article goes over the rules of the subreddit and its layout. Also, it features background on specific users and how they communicate on the subreddit. There is mention of another stock related subreddit in the article and how it differs from WSB which is very beneficial. This article will be especially useful for the essay because it goes over everything WSB related, and it shows who the members of the subreddit are.
Di Muzio, Tim. “GameStop Capitalism. Wall Street vs. The Reddit Rally (Part I).” The Bichler and Nitzan Archives, 11 Feb 2021, http://bnarchives.yorku.ca/673/. Accessed 28 Mar 2021.
This academic article looks at the impact the investors had on the GameStop stock. Going into detail about how this negatively affected hedge funds and showing posts from reddit users of r/wallstreetbets sharing their personal stories. One specifically was a story from a user talking about how his late father was screwed over by hedge funds in the past during the housing crisis and now has back at them with the recent GameStop investments. This article also features real data and graphs of the GameStop stuck which will be beneficial when writing because I can cite the specific data.
Feinstein, Zachary. “Clearing prices under margin calls and the short squeeze.” arXiv preprint arXiv:2102.02176, 3 Feb 2021, https://arxiv.org/abs/2102.02176. Accessed 28 Mar 2021.
The focus of this academic article is looking at the math behind the investments and what a “short squeeze” is. The article gives background information on how the investments started and the purpose behind them from WSB. Also, it shows the direct correlation from WSB to the GameStop stock, with math and data. This article will be beneficial to my essay because it shows calculated numbers of the WSB effect and how the term “short squeeze” is relevant too. Also, all these calculations show how the academic field of math is related to WSB.
Lopatto, Elizabeth. “How r/WallStreetBets Gamed the Stock of GameStop.” The Verge, 27 Jan 2021, www.theverge.com/22251427/reddit-gamestop-stock-short-w wallstreetbets-robinhood-wall-street. Accessed 29 Mar 2021.
In this web article, the main focus is on the money involved with GameStop and the other factors related to the event. Going over how there have been rumblings in the subreddit about how they should all invest into GameStop for quite some time now. Also, it goes over the situation of how this involves short-sellers and how this will negatively affect the high ups on Wall Street. One of the driving factors behind the investments from the subreddit was to get back at those on wall street who have negatively affected the average person.
Nam, David. “Modelling Stock Market Manipulation in Online Forums.” Diss, October 2020, https://qspace.library.queensu.ca/handle/1974/28239. Accessed 28 Mar 2021.
The focus of this academic article is to look at how different subreddits can influence the stock market. One example of a study in this article is how much market manipulation is involved with penny stocks and which subreddits are connected to them. This is beneficial to my essay because it is doing research on other stock related subreddits. Giving me the option to compare these subreddits to WSB. Also, research is done on the terms used frequently in these subreddits, helping me with explaining the communication that happens.
Semenova, Valentina, and Julian Winkler. “Reddit’s Self- Organized Bull Runs.” Munich Personal RePEc Archive, no. 105630, 20 January 2021, https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/105630/. Accessed 28 Mar 2021.
In this academic article, the focus is on how posts on WSB have an influence on stocks. Showing data on the number of posts on the subreddit and the influence it has on the stock with data. The article also features unique graphs of data detailing the number of posts and the growth of the stocks. This article will be beneficial to my essay because it gives accurate data behind WSB and even includes information on how posts can gain traction on the subreddit.
Sherr, Ian. “Reddit’s WallStreetBets Had a Dramatic Wednesday Evening.” CNET, 28 Jan. 2021, www.cnet.com/news/reddits-wallstreetbets-is-back-taking-on-gamestop-stock-after-intentional-lockdown/.Accessed Mar 29.
The focus of this web article is to draw attention to how the subreddit was put on lock. Also, how the voice/audio chatting service Discord banned WalSstreetBets. This generating controversy and then the price of GameStop and AMC stock dropped. This causing a rift between those wanting everyone to hold their stock instead of selling like many others have. This article is beneficial because it is a recording of the importance between GameStop and other stocks with Wallstreetbets at the time.
“R/stocks.” Reddit, 27 June 2008, https://www.reddit.com/r/stocks/.Accessed 29 Mar 2021.
This is the homepage of the reddit community r/stocks. This community is more informational based related to all things related to the stock market. This will be beneficial for my essay for comparing this community with r/wallstreetbets. Being able to compare the two and see the differences will help with discovering how communication, writing, and reading is done on the subreddit. Most of the post on r/stocks are news, advice and seeking others input on different stocks. This is community is more professional, which offers a good contrast compared to r/wallstreetbets.
Rogozinski, Jaime. “R/wallstreetbets.” Reddit, 31 Jan 2012, https://www.reddit.com/r/wallstreetbets/ Accessed 29 Mar 2021.
This is another homepage of a reddit community, with this community being the main study of the essay. This subreddit will feature posts, I can use to help expand upon my research. Showing posts and looking at what is being posted and commented will be beneficial to learning how communication is done within the community. Also, for comparing this communication to r/stocks or other stock related subreddits. The most recent trending posts are “memes” related to stocks and GameStop. Taking a look at the most consistent memes and jokes could be very helpful with the research paper.