Obama joins Reddit for Ask Me Anything


President Barack Obama takes questions from Reddit users.

As the Republicans meet in Tampa, President Barack Obama joined the social bookmarking site Reddit, answering questions in the "Ask Me Anything" series.

He answered the first question most people probably have (Is this really him?) with links to his Twitter handle, where he also announced his participation, and a photograph of himself typing away at a computer.

Obama, who had said he would answer questions for 30 minutes starting at 4:30 p.m., discussed the importance to him of internet freedom and space exploration, and spoke of the difficulty of making the decision to send young Americans into war.

Asked about the corrupting influence of money in politics, Obama said Super PACs threaten the political process.

We need to start with passing the Disclose Act that is already written and been sponsored in Congress - to at least force disclosure of who is giving to who. We should also pass legislation prohibiting the bundling of campaign contributions from lobbyists. Over the longer term, I think we need to seriously consider mobilizing a constitutional amendment process to overturn Citizens United (assuming the Supreme Court doesn't revisit it).

Plus, he revealed his favorite basketball player is "Jordan" because he's a "Bulls guy." Sorry, Kobe. 

Also of note, the president appears not to be a huge supporter of capitalization for proper nouns.

In addition to asking the president serious questions, many Reddit users appeared delighted just by Obama's presence on the site.

A user wrote, "ONE OF US. ONE OF US." To which another replied: "Not really, let's be real here. Although it's funny to imagine President Obama sitting in the oval office giggling and looking at photos of cats."

Other popular comments were "...wow." and, "Coolest president ever? Coolest president ever."

One way to judge the success of Obama's Reddit project was that it was hard to even watch the conversation. With so many people flocking to Reddit to participate or read along, the site was overwhelmed and greeted many visitors with: "Reddit is under heavy load right now, sorry. Try again in a few minutes."

The term Reddit was also trending on Twitter.

Obama signed off with this comment:

LAST UPDATE: I need to get going so I'm back in DC in time for dinner. 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!

See the conversation here.

[View the story "Obama joins Reddit. Reddit goes down. Coincidence?" on Storify]