You might have heard that the President of the United States, Barack Obama, made an appearance over on reddit for an AMA (ask me anything) thread. For half an hour yesterday, between 4:30PM and 5:00PM Eastern time, President Obama answered questions asked of him in a generally responsive and gracious manner. In addition to responding, he also managed to draw 200,000 concurrent users to the site — massively overwhelming it at times.
That number, of course, includes the people that were surfing happily along in /r/boardgames whilst completely ignoring any of the other subreddits. It’s not like the entirety of that surge came from the President deigning to join in with the Internet hive of activity that is reddit. A large portion of that traffic can certainly be placed squarely on his shoulders, though. Who wouldn’t want to ask the President about the recipe for the White House’s beer?
200k visitors on the site at any one time during POTUS IAMA. Still cleaning up a bit. Site will be back to normal ASAP.
— the reddit alien (@reddit) August 29, 2012
The reality of the situation is that the current social media climate is ripe for political campaigns to exploit. Even though he answered a mere fraction of the questions asked, for a grand total of 10 questions, merely showing up and taking the endeavor seriously has already won the President a great deal of karma.
The real winner here is the entire reddit team. Landing this much traffic over a single thread, even if it was the President, only further solidifies the site as “the front page of the Internet.” Plus, President Obama even mentioned his own meme in his last remark. Top that, rest of the Internet.
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