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Reddit AMAs, a New Forum for Web Based Conversations



Reddit is a popular social news network that has grown large in the last year and currently has about 1 billion page views per month. A user can browse the front page or choose to browse a specific subreddit,a specific community within reddit, such as /r/politics or /r/atheism. Users generate and post the links as well as upvote or downvote to influence what is on the front page of the subreddit. In this case I would like to look at the influence of the /r/AMA subreddit, and how this subreddit gets popular posters to do AMA’s and the style of discussion that occurs within an AMA. AMA stands for Ask me anything and a typical AMA would contain a specific person, normally someone famous or distinguished in some, being online and answering comments of other users. It is in a typical blog style where a poster can comment on the thread as a whole or comment on a specific comment. Users upvote and downvote to decide which comments are at the top of the page and the creator of the AMA can choose which comments he replies to. Any users can create an AMA but many times the users of the cite request and AMA by an influential figure. Some regulars who create AMAs and interact with the Reddit community are Neil DeGrasse Tyson, physicist, and Aziz Ansari, comedian. Recently there was an AMA by Barack Obama where he was on for thirty minutes and answered 10 user generate questions. Normal AMAs last at least an hour but the fact that the President spent any amount of time on an AMA is amazing. Through the size of the network community and the connectedness of current society a average size web new site is able to attract many influential figures to interact directly with the American layman on his computer.

This means of internet conversation allows for personal interactions between the American internet user and their peers, not excluding politicians, academics and musicians. The questions that are at the top of the page, and thus most likely to be answered, are the questions that the viewing community wants to see answered. This is different from normal news where the interview questions being asked are determined by the interviewer or in some cases the person being interviewed. The users can do their own AMA or ask/pursuade anyone they know to do an AMA. As a result there is a large section of the population that can be accessed either directly or indirectly  This means of interview and conversation is easy and efficient  It takes only five minutes to create a Reddit account and anyone can do an AMA in their spare time or down time. It is important that there are good, unbias forums for interview and discussion on the internet. More and more TV and paper news is bias and the ability for a population to make good decisions is related to how well that population is informed. The AMA structure allows a widespread internet community to have constructive interviews and discussions with peers and is a good form or internet news.


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