US president Barack Obama took to Reddit yesterday evening for an hour-long session of the “Ask Me Anything” series. In the process, he became the first sitting head-of-state to do so and added a huge dose of credibility to the social news website.
The site was inundated with visitors and the surge in traffic made sure that the session wasn’t as productive as the president would have liked, but part of the strategy was surely to divert a whole lot of media time from the Republican presidential campaign that was happening at the same time.
Obama and his team of advisers have always been astutely aware of how to manipulate technology and create a story when they need it most. The President also ran the first Twitter Town Hall in July 2011 and is creating more innovation in the upcoming campaign by accepting donations via SMS.
ReadWriteWeb reports that “Redditers pitched softballs and hard alike, but the fact that the leader of the Free World participated in the site’s chat confirms mainstream success and reach for Reddit.”
Some of the questions Obama received were: “What was the most difficult decision that you had to make in your first term?” (Answer: the surge in Afghanistan) to “What’s the recipe for the White House beer?” (Answer: The recipe will be out soon). There were some other great questions which he never got to, e.g “What colour is your toothbrush?” as the session was only 30 minutes long.
Nevertheless, the session was a huge hit for the president and a welcome shot of endorsement from the highest office in the land. The President even let slip the fact that he is aware of all the memes that he generates by signing off with a reference to the Not Bad Obama meme.
He wrote “By the way, if you want to know what I think about this whole reddit experience — NOT BAD!”