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First POST: Duck, Duck, President

BY Miranda Neubauer | Wednesday, January 9 2013

When Obama Visited Reddit

  • Michael Hastings, embedded in Chicago for Buzzfeed during the 2012 presidential campaign, offers a behind-the-scenes look at the day President Barack Obama did a Reddit "Ask Me Anything." Short version: As we already know, the Obama campaign did a better job of speaking to people of the Internet in the language of the Internet — in-jokes, pop-culture references, other informalities:

    Obama answered eight questions and was heading into his ninth when Goff let him in on a Reddit in-joke. “There’s this thing about Reddit where people say, ‘Not bad,’ ” Goff told Obama. “Just trust me, that’s a thing. . . .”

    “All right.”

    Closer to the election, your First POST editor made a HuffpoLIVE appearance with Alexis Ohanian and pointed out that the president's answers during that AMA tracked pretty closely with his previous statements. In other words, Reddit worked for interaction between regular people and the president, but not as a platform for getting more information to voters than what voters would otherwise have about the president's views into a second term. The Reddit co-founder replied that Reddit was not a replacement for "real" journalism or "real" journalists. Which, to be honest, makes sense. So the view from techPresident is that this matter is settled: Reddit, and other big platform sites on the Internet, comprise constituencies with a common Internet-centric culture. They are digital towns. Candidates are to sample their local delicacies, shake the hands of their folk, make appearances with their political leaders, highlight the portions of their platform that are relevant to regional issues, and try to win their votes. They make more sense to study as a relatively new cross-section of the country then as a communications platform for new methods of communication with politicians.

    Bonus: Click through to Hastings' piece for the political scoop of the century — Obama officials debating the Reddit puzzler, "Would you choose to fight 100 duck-sized horses or one horse-sized duck?"

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