At 4:30 p.m. on August 29, anonymous Reddit users crowded around the “front page of the Internet” to ask our nation’s President about the economy, space exploration, the Internet, and the White House recipe for beer. Throughout President Obama’s half-hour AMA (Ask Me Anything) session, the site strained against the flood of visitors and their comments. We were lucky to get the following highlights.
“Hey everybody – this is Barack,” the President began. “Just finished a great rally in Charlottesville, and am looking forward to your questions. At the top, I do want to say that our thoughts and prayers are with folks who are dealing with Hurricane Isaac in the Gulf, and to let them know that we are going to be coordinating with state and local officials to make sure that we give families everything they need to recover.”
President Obama couldn’t address all of the 12,853 comments the readers submitted, but he had time for this gem:
“What’s the recipe for the White House’s beer?”
When SharkGirl asked about his stance on Internet freedom, the President said, “Internet freedom is something I know you all care passionately about; I do too. We will fight hard to make sure that the internet remains the open forum for everybody – from those who are expressing an idea to those to want to start a business. And although there will be occasional disagreements on the details of various legislative proposals, I won’t stray from that principle – and it will be reflected in the platform.”
No one gave him reason to regret that statement. Overall, the chat went well. Most of the questions were smart and on-topic, at least the ones that other users had voted to the top of the page. To each other, Redditors called him President “Brobama” and said he was cool. Someone even asked him if he wanted “in” on a couple of pizzas.
“I need to get going so I’m back in DC in time for dinner,” President Obama concluded. “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 Gottaregister.com. By the way, if you want to know what I think about this whole reddit experience – NOT BAD!”