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Meme Stocks Demystified: A Genuine Investment Opportunity or Just Hype?

Susan Kelly

Oct 22, 2023

When discussing the stock market, various trends and terminologies emerge over time. One such phenomenon that has caught the attention of both novice and seasoned investors is the concept of meme stocks. But what exactly are meme stocks, and should one consider them real investment opportunities?

What Are Meme Stocks?

Meme stocks gain rapid popularity among retail investors for various reasons, often amplified by their discussion on social media platforms, especially on platforms like Reddit. The hype isn't necessarily because of the company's fundamentals but more due to its status as an "underdog." The term draws inspiration from internet memes, often shared widely and rapidly on social media. Just as a meme goes viral on platforms like Reddit, meme stocks gain traction and experience surges in trading volume.

When the COVID-19 pandemic forced people indoors, an unexpected trend started to surface in the stock market. Now, having more time, many people have begun to explore the investment landscape. Aided by stimulus checks, they became first-time investors, with platforms like Reddit serving as their primary information hub. In the whirlwind of this new activity, meme stocks began to stand out, capturing the imagination of these new traders.

r/WallStreetBets stood at the forefront of this activity. The subreddit quickly became a hotbed for investment discussions, its style distinctively different from conventional investment forums. The active participants, affectionately called "apes," showcased their fearless approach to the stock market, often placing large bets on single stocks. Their open sharing of triumphs and failures, usually in-app screenshots, became emblematic of their community's spirit.

One stock that this community championed was GameStop. By mid-2020, GameStop became a sensation within the subreddit, primarily because many believed it was undervalued. Noticing the considerable short positions institutional investors held against GameStop, many members of r/WallStreetBets decided to buy the stock. Their collective buying action contributed to a sharp rise in GameStop's stock price.

As more and more members started sharing their experiences, a clear trend emerged. While there were big winners, there were also those who faced losses. Regardless of the outcome, the community stood united, always ready to identify the following potential meme stock.

Other Popular Meme Stocks

GameStop's success opened the gates for other stocks to enter the limelight. AMC, BlackBerry, and Bed Bath & Beyond became leading names. Like GameStop, these companies were typically viewed as something other than top investment options by institutional investors. Yet, in the eyes of the retail community, especially the members of r/WallStreetBets, they held potential.

Each stock had its unique journey but shared a common thread: the unwavering support from the Reddit community. As these stocks began to gain traction, more and more people started to take notice, adding to the meme stocks list.

The Meme Stock Lingo

A distinct language evolved in meme stocks, especially in forums like r/WallStreetBets. It’s an exciting blend of humor, finance, and internet culture. Let's break down a few of these terms that regularly pop up in discussions:


This term is affectionately used for members who rally behind buying and maintaining a solid position in specific stocks. They work in unison, believing in the strength of collective buying power.


This term denotes individuals who own many shares of a particular meme stock. Their commitment and holding size can often influence other community members.

Diamond and paper hands

These contrasting terms describe the resilience of investors. Those with "diamond hands" are steadfast, holding onto stocks even when faced with potential losses. In contrast, investors with "paper hands" might quickly sell their shares at the slightest hint of a downturn.


In the meme stock market, profits are sometimes called "tendies." It’s a light-hearted way to discuss the financial gains from trading.

To The moon

This phrase encapsulates the hope and belief that a stock’s price will soar significantly. It reflects the optimism many in the community hold for their chosen stocks.

Estimating the Real Worth of Meme Stocks

While the buzz around meme stocks is palpable, the essential question remains: Are they valid investment avenues? On the surface, meme stocks don't follow the traditional investment path. They ride the wave of community sentiments more than the underlying company's fundamentals.

However, it’s undeniable that many have reaped considerable rewards by timing their meme stock trades well. The allure of significant short-term profits draws many to this trading style. But potential investors should tread carefully. The inherent volatility of meme stocks means prices can swing dramatically in both directions.

Anyone thinking about investing in meme stocks should arm themselves with thorough research. Additionally, seeking insights from seasoned financial experts can provide a more rounded perspective on the meme stock market.

Online Forums in Stock Trading

There’s been a noticeable shift in the stock market landscape, with forums like r/WallStreetBets rising to prominence. While measuring their exact impact quantitatively is challenging, events like the GameStop surge provide a qualitative testament to their influence.

These online communities have showcased the power of collective retail investment. Their coordinated efforts have led to stock price movements that few could have predicted. The GameStop episode has become a landmark event, prompting institutional investors and hedge funds to reassess their strategies.

Factors Driving Meme Stock Popularity

The rise and recognition of meme stocks aren't purely accidental. Several factors have fueled their ascent in the stock market:

Social Media Influence

Platforms like Reddit and, formerly, Twitter play a significant role. The ease of sharing and consuming information has democratized investment insights, where even a casual observation can spark considerable movement.

Retail Trading Platforms

Apps like Robinhood have made it incredibly simple for average individuals to start trading without substantial upfront investment or knowledge, further propelling the meme stock movement.

Collective Sentiment

The underdog narrative is compelling. Retail investors enjoy the sensation of collectively challenging institutional investors, making meme stock investment a financial decision, and a form of protest against traditional financial institutions.

Risks and Rewards of Meme Stocks

Like any investment, meme stocks come with their own set of risks and rewards:

  • Meme stocks are characterized by their sharp price swings. While this can result in significant gains, it can also lead to substantial losses in a short period.
  • Those who profited the most from meme stocks have usually done so over short durations, capitalizing on timely trades based on real-time information.
  • As rapidly as meme stock prices can soar, they can plummet just as quickly. It's common for traders to experience massive losses if they join the trend too late or hold onto the stock for too long.
  • Meme stock trading is often driven by community sentiment rather than traditional financial analysis. This emotional investment can sometimes cloud judgment, leading to less rational trading decisions.

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