SLUGS AND THE CITY
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.
Can You Digg It?
In light of the three very recent, very public shootings involving the New York Police Department—including the most recent one at the Empire State Building, where the majority of the injured were hit by bullets that came from NYPD guns—New Yorkers may be curious about the level of proficiency our city’s “finest” have when it comes to firing guns in the middle of the most populous city in America. Enter a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” thread, this time featuring a six-year veteran of the city’s police force, answering questions about our cops and the guns they carry on their belts.
Last night, Digg founder Kevin Rose announced that he was doing an AMA on Reddit. Following the announcement, he immediately vacated the site and did not return to it for 24 hours. As many of the interested Redditors are refugees from Digg, they did not take kindly to this crucial misunderstanding of how exactly Reddit works. Generally, you don’t announce you’re doing an AMA unless you intend to answer questions at that very moment.
“Kevin just tweeted an Instagram picture at Alcatraz,” wrote one user. “Pretty sure he forgot about this.”
“Maybe it is symbolic of being trapped in an AMA he regrets,” retorted another.
Some time this afternoon, Mr. Rose returned to the thread in order to answer the (mostly indignant) questions that had collected while he was away. Perhaps to make up for his tardiness, he even took the time to record a few video replies to Redditors’ questions.
Microsoft Outlook now operates in-browser and is apparently a legitimate Gmail competitor? No flipping desks for Steve Ballmer today. [Wired]
Things are not looking good in iPad mag land. The Daily has laid off a 1/3rd of its staff. [AllThingsD]
Kevin Rose did an AMA, just in time for the release of the new Digg. It got less than 1,000 upvotes and apparently he didn’t actually answer any questions. [Reddit]
Two online poker sites are paying millions in damages following fraud and money laundering charges. Guess the government called their bluff. [New York Times]
Times Square will broadcast the Mars landing on one of those gigantic screens. The space geek in us is currently fighting with the person in us who fucking hates Times Square. [NASA]
UBS lost $356 million in the Facebook IPO. Yikes. [The New York Times]
Life in the Fab Lane
Betabeat had just settled in for a hot Friday night date with the Internet when a friend sent us an email with the subject line, “!!!”. Enclosed in the body was a link to a Reddit Ask me Anything featuring none other than our childhood idol Bill Nye the Science Guy.
Mr. Nye is somewhat of a Reddit folk hero, a noted target of nostalgic awe whose esteem on Reddit may be eclipsed only by the swag-as-hell physicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. An AMA from Bill Nye has been a long awaited Reddit event. The fact that it’s happening on a Friday night is also probably of no consequence to the majority of Redditors (this reporter included).
The Reddit AMA (or “ask me anything”) is a free-for-all question and answer session where big names duke it out with anonymous users masked by handles like “testees_testees_123.” It can be delightfully informative, but also delightfully weird. Some even morph into uncomfortable grilling sessions, as was the case with Woody Harrelson’s AMA, which quickly devolved into a game of rape accusations.
Fab CEO Jason Goldberg took to Reddit yesterday for an AMA following the news that the company had raised $105 million, and while his experience wasn’t nearly as torturous as Mr. Harrelson’s, Redditors certainly didn’t cut him any slack.
It’s now something of a celebrity rite of passage, as well as a downright pleasant way to while away an afternoon. But while it’s perfectly delightful to see Woody Harrelson faceplant at Q&A, we’ve noticed that there are several interesting requests piling up, just aching to become hours of entertainment. In fact, here are a few Read More
Louis CK’s had a pretty unlikely career: After a bunch of failed television shows, the man commonly known as the comedian’s comedian finally had a hit with his latest—Louie, on FX—when he was given the creative autonomy to do what he wants with it. It’s all too fitting, then, that he’s taken today to Reddit’s famous AMA (or: Ask Me Anything) forum, about as likely an unlikely viral success as Louis CK himself.
Today We Learned
One of the spokespeople behind the Anonymous Twitter account hosted an “ask me anything” session on Reddit yesterday, during which the hacktivist rep talked Mexican cartels, Occupy Wall Street and various #ops around the world. Anonymous captured the public’s imagination and inspired fear with stunts like temporarily taking down the websites of large corporations and taking over Rupert Murdoch’s The Sun, at the same time laying claim to high-profile hacks such as the filching of credit card information from Playstation users. But the group isn’t as all-powerful as the FBI seems to fear.
Reddit’s increasingly popular “IAmA” section–I am a tech blogger, ask me anything–was briefly shut down yesterday after its creator got sick of policing its 465,000 members and the pranksters who pretended to be terminally ill patients or rape victims. “The /r/IAmA that I shut down (until incredable backlash), in my opinion is not that subreddit that I started two year ago,” moderator 32bites wrote. “I feel that the community has been flooded by people who don’t care about it at all …”