Rise of the Memelords
Written by: Dr. Mark Szabo, Vice President, Insights & Engagement
Collective action, long the holy grail of politicians and the powerful, is no longer a top-down proposition. Under the old rules (i.e. last week), those seeking power over the masses needed to demonize others, manipulate emotions, and obscure the truth in order to get what they wanted. In a world of imperfect information, that worked very well. However, as we are seeing now with GameStop and Dogecoin as examples, the Internet burst the bubble of imperfect information. That has long been the case, but now it has become institutional.
Memes have gone from amusing to powerful. Cryptocurrency Dogecoin is currently skyrocketing in value because shit-posting memers used their medium to swarm and create pump the value. GameStop happened when a sub-Reddit group banded together, took on Wall Street short sellers, and beat them at their own game. Billions of dollars of vapour value were transferred from the powerful to the small players.
When you see Wall Street and big tech firms, and their allies, operating to shut down a sub-Reddit group whose sole purpose is for small investors to share information on the basis of “hate speech,” you know that those powers-that-be are terrified of losing their virtual monopoly on generating collective action.
Information is not power. Knowledge is not power. The ability to use information and knowledge to create collective action is power. And they are not giving it up easily.
What are your thoughts?
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