Obama to Reddit users: ‘Ask me anything’


President Obama and his campaign planners have always been on the cutting edge of Internet and social network use. The 2008 campaign saw major breakthroughs in the public’s access to the candidate as media such as YouTube and Twitter were heavily utilized and quickly brought information on campaigns to the American public.

As this source of information gathering and communication has rapidly expanded during Obama’s term, his campaign for re-election has been filled with many of the same tricks and some risky ones, too.

On Aug. 29, President Obama posted on the social networking site Reddit (which refers to itself as the “front page of the Internet”) and let users know they could “ask him anything.”

According to a blog.reddit report created a day after the post, “Without any fanfare ahead of time, the President of the United States spent 30 minutes answering questions from anonymous users with no mediation on a website run by 20 people, and in a forum that was organically created by volunteers.”

If 2008 opened the door for social media in campaigning, a move like this has opened the floodgates.

Within the first hour after the post, more than 10,000 comments were posted on the thread. Reddit added 30 more servers to its site, a 20 percent increase according to CNN.com and the traffic was still overwhelming. Reports have come in saying the post was the single-most visited thread of the day, even more than the site website.

As both Obama and Romney head into the the final two months of the campaign, moves such as this prove to be effective to target the younger generation of voters.

While traditional campaign events such as speeches and debates are still relevant, campaign stunts such as this get the word out about a candidate’s platform in record time. As a journalist, being aware of these moves made by campaigns is of extreme importance because of how they can inform otherwise uninformed people and provide a connection with voters that can shake up the polls on election day.

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