Hey, remember r/wallstreetbets and Gamestop?
And how a URL group had IRL significance(nearly 5 Billion Dollars worth)? Well, it may be yesterday’s news…but we still like going back to the story. And think about its implications for the creator economy.
Quick History Lesson
To start off with, let’s revisit the story, real quick. Gamestop(GME) is a business that is slowly dying-it’s a brick and mortar store that sells video games. Not exactly future proof. Seeing this trend, some hedge fund managers on Wall St. decide to short GME stock-betting that GME share prices would drop.
But r/wallstreetbets(r/wsb) had other plans. Some of the 770,000 members(in January) of the Reddit group found out that GME was being shorted by big players on Wall Street. And they saw an opportunity to gather in support of their teenage hangout(GameSpot).
All while sticking it to the man(Wall St.)
So they began a short squeeze- meaning that the people who bet against GME would have to buy back the same stock at a much higher rate. This meant that in the next few days, some of the people on r/WSB made millions- while hedge funds lost billions.
But this post is not about the short squeeze or money or even investing…
Because r/wsb too, was not about the investing.
There are several other subreddits that deal with investing more analytically. You’d go to a r/investing or a r/StockMarket if you wanted that kind of information. No, you went to r/WSB for one thing-the NSFW humor that was its bread and butter.
This niche interest- self-deprecating, offensive jokes was why close to a million people had signed up to the sub. And when they took on the shared goal of shaking up Wall Street, it was this same humor that was the base upon which the community’s sense of loyalty was built on.
Eventually, this loyalty was tested too.
When the time came when it made sense for community members to sell their shares and make a lot of dough… most members decided to hold. This despite the fact that holding was a risky strategy for most of r/wsb.
But the community was loyal to the cause. And to each other.
Communities and Creators
Now that kind of loyalty can be inspired by a shared enemy as in the case of r/wsb. But it can also be inspired by a shared leader. A leader who can effectively leverage the relationship they have with their followers.
A creator, for instance.
Most successful creators today have spent a majority of their adult lives obsessing over how to engage their audience. By converting this audience into a community(based around a shared love for the creator), a creator can choose to focus less on engagement(as a community does that by itself).
And focus more on bigger things- like creating a movement.
We believe the right creators, backed by the right communities working on the right causes, will be the next movers and shakers of the world. So whaddya say, creators? Wanna take down an institution or two for lunch?