The “Reddit Rally” from earlier this year underlined a very 2021 phenomenon: The stock market was roiled in real-time by what people were saying and doing online.
Tesla founder and noted Twitter rascal Elon Musk tweeted “Gamestonk!!” on Jan. 26, and the markets immediately responded.
Shares in GameStop (GME) skyrocketed over the next couple of days, intensifying a surge that saw the stock’s price rise by about 1,500% in the first four weeks of the year.
By sharing the then-rising stock’s meme name in a tweet (along with a link to Reddit’s WallStreetBets forum, which had famously driven the stock up significantly) with his almost 50 million followers, Musk effectively threw gasoline on the fire that was GameStop.
Average people looking to successful investors and entrepreneurs for market advice is hardly new. Plenty of folks swear by Warren Buffett’s legendary market advice, and other personalities like Suze Orman and Jim Cramer also draw hundreds of thousands of eyeballs every for every proclamation.
But social media has given rise to a new version of this phenomenon. Some, like Musk, are titans of industry themselves. Others are fund managers, venture capitalists or even media personalities.
Here’s a look at some of the new generation of stock market influencers who you should be paying attention to if you’re looking to arm yourself with an investing app and make some money.
The “Gamestonk” tweet wasn’t the first time that Musk made waves in the financial world with his Twitter account. He was sued by the SEC in 2018 over musing on Twitter about taking Tesla private, and eventually reached a deal with the regulator the following year.
Tesla stock has risen and fallen according to Musk’s tweets.
And his public interest with Bitcoin has also driven the value of that cryptocurrency higher.
Musk has legions of devoted followers who are more than happy to follow their billionaire guru’s advice on anything finance-related. And that seems unlikely to change.
Canadian-American venture capitalist and Virgin Galactic Chairman Chamath Palihapitiya has 1.4 million Twitter followers and regularly shares his thoughts about what’s happening on the markets.
When GameStop blew up, Palihapitiya tweeted in solidarity with the Redditors who drove GME’s stock skywards, praising them for their “insane, crazy, baller” move.
He also asked his millions of followers in January what company he should “throw a few 100 k’s at,” and bought $125,000 in GameStop call options. He closed his position the following day and donated the profits.
In the following days, Palihapitiya blasted the trading app Robinhood on social media and talked up another company instead, Social Finance.
SoFi was about to go public via a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), often called a “blank check company,” a publicly traded firm that exists for the purpose of merging with or buying another company.
Shares in the SPAC merging with SoFi saw double-digit gains in the days following Palihapitiya’s social media attacks on Robinhood.
Cathie Wood of ARK Invest is quickly developing a following as one of the most influential “stock pickers” out there, earning comparisons to Warren Buffet.
Wood’s fund is so successful and popular that it’s inspired a line of apparel.
Wood praised companies like Musk’s Tesla for buying Bitcoin as a hedge and is a longtime fan of the electric-car company.
She recently predicted that Tesla would hit $3,000 a share by 2025, and that price target immediately caused a 6% rise in the company’s stock.
Since the start of the pandemic, Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy has shifted from talking about sports to his 2.4 million Twitter followers to discussing the stock market.
His Twitter feed these days tends to focus on his trading, which he often streams live to his millions of fans.
Portnoy has pushed everything from sports gambling businesses to cannabis stocks to his legions of followers. He also invested $700,000 in AMC, but later tweeted that he’d sold all of his “meme stocks” and was down $700,000.
How to get in on the action
With low-commission apps anyone can become an investor these days.
If you’re interested in trading stocks but would rather not have to monitor the ups and downs of the market every day, apps like Acorns will automatically invest your spare change into a balanced portfolio designed to grow slowly and steadily.
And if you’re interested in getting ahead of the curve instead of following the advice of others, consider an alternative investment in an asset like farmland.
You don’t have to follow Elon Musk or pick the same stocks as Cathie Wood. But you also definitely can if you want to.