A little over 20 minutes ago, President Obama announced that he would be doing an AMA on Reddit, and the Internet promptly imploded. Within minutes of the announcement, it was confirmed by both Reddit moderators and the New York Times. Ladies, geeks and lady geeks everywhere swooned at the photo of the President stationed at his Macbook prepared to address the Reddit masses, who will undoubtedly only ask questions about weed.
Founder Alexis Ohanian took the opportunity to wax a lil’ nostalgic: “Fun fact,” he tweeted. “POTUS doing @reddit AMA from C-Ville, VA — where 7 yrs ago Steve & I founded the company that would build @reddit.”
We promptly gChatted Reddit general manager Erik Martin: “On a scale of 1-10, how much are you freaking out right now?” we asked. “Trying to stay cool right now,” he replied. “But still at an 11.”
Reddit’s servers took a pounding from the heavy traffic heaped on the site following the announcement: We got a “Reddit is under heavy load right now” error page several times while trying to read the AMA, and eventually got through, but only in read-only mode. (“Read only is being thrown out intermittently,” Mr. Martin told us.)
We still can’t get the page to load to display the President’s answers, but an earlier version of the post gives a glimpse into the (unbearably stereotypical) questions Redditors are asking: Yes, they are about space and Internet freedom.
Still, this is an exciting moment for the 7-year-old social news site that’s seen tremendous growth over the last few years.
“How the hell did you guys pull this one off?” asked one Redditor, who later emailed Betabeat to identify himself as Beau Agnello.
“This is reddit. You all pulled this off by becoming the front page of the internet,” replied Mr. Ohanian, adding “edit: I’m also hoping the administration was so responsive because secretly they’re all redditors.”
A screenshot posted to Twitter offers us a glimpse into what’s currently going on inside the AMA: Neckbeards correcting POTUS’s grammar:
Aaaand we have another typo. Oof.
AllThingsD asked Mr. Ohanian how he got President Obama to do the AMA. He responded:
There’s not a lot to it. I’ve gotten to know quite a few folks in the WH & Obama campaign team over the years and it was always something I brought up when I got the chance. There are quite a few redditors at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave and at the campaign HQ — given the prominence of reddit, it’s an easy sell.
Oh, you fancy, huh?
President Obama seems to have a weird relationship with capitalization. He doesn’t capitalize the name of his wife or Afghanistan, but he does, however, cap Chicago Bulls.
Our copy editor adds that there are at least four grammatical errors in this sentence: “We need to start with passing the Disclose Act that is already written and been sponsored in Congress – to at least force disclosure of who is giving to who.”
The American flag flair bestowed upon the President’s username is the cutest:
The AMA is officially over, with POTUS heading back to Washington D.C. in time for dinner. He posted the following update by way of a goodbye:
LAST UPDATE: I need to get going so I’m back in DC in time for dinner. But I want to thank everybody at reddit for participating – this is an example of how technology and the internet can empower the sorts of conversations that strengthen our democracy over the long run. AND REMEMBER TO VOTE IN NOVEMBER – if you need to know how to register, go to http://gottaregister.com. By the way, if you want to know what I think about this whole reddit experience – NOT BAD!
Knows his memes? Not bad.
Adam Fletcher, spokesman for the Obama campaign, has provided Betabeat with the following quote:
“More than 40 million people use Reddit every month, and the President’s “Ask Me Anything” session gave him a chance to answer directly a wide variety of questions from this group.”