Obama utilizes Reddit as forum as it grows in popularity

By NICKY DIAZ

Reddit has slowly become a major news source for many Internet users. The social news website was founded in 2005, but only recently became popular. The site allows users to submit their own content or links to content that they find interesting. Other users can then rank the post, which determines the post’s position on Reddit’s page.

The site further simplifies web searching through categories. Users can click on topics like funny, politics, gaming or world news to then browse the most popular stories within those categories. Posts range from video game users expressing their frustrations about FIFA (the International Federation of Association Football, the global soccer governing organization) to the site’s most recent Ask Me Anything (AMA) with President Barack Obama.

AMA allows a user to start a thread where others can ask them questions. Of course, several Reddit users took advantage of the opportunity and participated in the Q&A with the president of the United States. Although some asked more serious and political questions, others asked questions like “Mr. President, can you stop the NHL Lockout? Please?”

That’s the incredible yet frustrating part about sites like Reddit that allow users to take part in threads such as these: People can ask whatever they want. This freedom could be easily abused. However, it doesn’t seem like that was the case with President Obama’s Q&A.

The president’s AMA post has more than 20,000 comments. The medium allowed voters to discuss important issues together and it also let them directly contact someone as important as President Obama. In the past, comedian Louis CK and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman have both participated in AMA posts. It’ll be interesting to see if Mitt Romney takes to social media in response to the president’s forum.

Although this forum has its advantages, it also raises the question, what does this mean for journalism? If Internet users are finding ways to personally communicate with someone like the president of the United States, then what role do journalists play in the media, specifically social media? It’ll be interesting to see what path journalists take as the number of sites like Reddit grows.

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