2,524 crowdsourcing and crowdfunding sites
President Barack Obama stepped away from his busy schedule to chat with the Reddit community on Wednesday, taking part in the Ask Me Anything (AMA) interview series.
The president fielded questions on everything from the effect of super PACs on American politics to funding for space exploration. Not all questions dealt with policy, though, and Obama shared some insight into his family life and mentioned his affection for the Chicago Bulls.
Reddit’s AMA series puts individuals in touch with people of all walks of life. In recent months, more and more public figures have opened up to curious Redditors. These include politicians, actors, and (soon) even crowdsourcing entrepreneurs – on September 10th, 99designs founder Matt Mickiewicz will take to the keyboard.
The president answered a total of ten questions in a span of around 40 minutes. His responses mostly stayed on topic, discussing policy and his experience in office. In a bit of breaking news, Obama endorsed a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision, which allows certain political groups to spend unlimited amounts on ads during campaign season, as long as they do not expressly endorse either candidate or party.
The session drew so much attention that the site crashed, unprepared for the spike in traffic. The moderators enabled read-only mode throughout the interview to combat the technical problems.
This sort of crowdsourced interview is not the first time we’ve seen what the crowd on Reddit can do for journalism. Last month, for example, the site’s community pieced together a running news report about the Aurora, Colorado theater shooting. And Reddit is no stranger to other kinds of crowdsourcing. Earlier this week, for example, the site announced Reddit Donate, which will crowdfund donations to various charities.
Obama, too, is familiar with crowdsourcing. He crowdfunded a good portion of his campaign budget in 2008, and his administration launched the open innovation platform Challenge.gov, which seeks to solve various problems by opening up the idea generation phase to the crowd. Of course, he also endorsed the JOBS Act, which will legalize equity crowdfunding, something he mentioned in one of his AMA responses.
While it was not a terribly in-depth interview, getting the leader of the world’s most powerful nation to do an AMA is certainly a big win for Reddit. For Obama, it was a highly visible (and probably successful) way of shoring up support among the youth voters, who turned up to the polls in hordes in 2008 to vote for him.
The POTUS even showed off some of his social media savvy during the interview, referencing a popular meme starring himself in the sign-off message: “By the way, if you want to know what I think about this whole reddit experience - NOT BAD!”