WallStreetBets is by no means all young people. The demographics of the Reddit forum, which now has over six million people, are broad and encompass out-of-work boomers, earnest millennials and hyper-online children. However, the camaraderie in the community is something many young traders said they were drawn to.

The forum has its own language. They refer to winnings as “tendies,” and it’s customary to celebrate a large gain by dining on chicken tenders. WallStreetBets investors praise those who have so-called diamond hands, meaning they hold their stock or continue to invest even when the stock price dips.

Having diamond hands is seen as a form of bravery, even if it sometimes appears irrational, and investors celebrate such resolve with diamond and hand emojis in their comments. Conversely, having “paper hands” is seen as a sign of weakness or cowardice, and indicates a willingness to fold or sell stock after a dip. All of this in-crowd lingo spills across the web to YouTube, TikTok, Snapchat and more, becoming memes within memes.

Louis Weimer, 20, a college student in Pittsburgh, signed up for Robinhood as soon as he turned 18, like many of his peers. He liked that it didn’t charge huge fees and allowed him to trade small amounts of stocks, key for a college student on a small budget. He put $200 in it that he’d amassed from working at a grocery store and bought stocks in companies that he recognized, like Apple and Microsoft.

WallStreetBets had been on his radar since the beginning. He came across the community on Reddit and checked it on and off to keep track of trades. Mr. Weimer said that he and his friends would often discuss stocks. “Both of my roommates here at school, they’ve got investment accounts and we talk about our trades all the time,” he said.

Like many traders his age, Mr. Weimer has never been taught anything formally about the stock market. His information is gleaned from the internet and conversations online. He learns through watching YouTube videos on how to diversify a portfolio or when to time a stock buy.

Mr. Bannink, the Wisconsin high school senior, said he had friends who had been trading throughout high school under their parents’ accounts, posting about wins and losses to Snapchat and Instagram, and he wanted in on the action.



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