President Obama participated in a surprise open question-and-answer session Wednesday afternoon on the Web community Reddit, as the subject of one of the site’s regular “Ask Me Anything” threads. Reddit’s site experienced some outages immediately following the announcement, due to increased traffic. Users reported they were having trouble logging into the site as the session began.
The thread follows remarks he made at the nTelos Wireless Pavilion as part of his swing-state tour of college campuses. As The Washington Post’s Amy Gardner reported, Obama visited Iowa State University in Ames on Tuesday and Colorado State in Fort Collins earlier this week.
According to Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, the president is logging on to Reddit from the same city where the company was born in 2005. Ohanian and Steve Huffman met while students at the University of Virginia and officially founded Reddit after graduation.
“I was sitting in [the University of Virginia’s] Alderman Library when I came up with the name ‘Reddit,’ and I never could've imagined that seven years later, the president of the United States would be using it — let alone from the same place!” Ohanian told The Post .
Obama will be the highest-profile person to ever host an AMA thread, a regular feature of the site that gives interesting people — celebrities, inventors, etc. — the chance to field questions from a curious Reddit community. Physicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson and “Jeopardy” champion Ken Jennings, as well as Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Kimmel, have all gone under the Reddit microscope. Other recent AMA subjects trending on the site include actor Terry Crews and a 5-year-old who recently started kindergarten.
Reddit general manager Erik Martin said that the community won’t change any of its posting rules for its exceptional guest.
Obama is certainly no stranger to social media. Last year, the president hosted a Twitter town halland a LinkedIn town hall, and also answered Facebook users’ questions from the social networking company’s headquarters in Silicon Valley.