The president reached out to tech geeks Wednesday--and they promptly brought down parts of Reddit's site.
As Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian prepares to hit the campaign trail with his own agenda this election season, the social news site he created is getting into the game, too. On Wednesday, Reddit hosted a question-and-answer forum for President Obama to overwhelming response. So overwhelming, in fact, the Reddit servers crashed.
As part of the site’s "IamA" series where actors, journalists, business owners, athletes, and politicians allow redditors to AMA (ask me anything), the President answered questions for 30 minutes following a campaign rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
The questions posed covered a wide array of topics: from his favorite basketball player (Michael Jordan--"I'm a Bulls man," Obama wrote) to the now infamous White House beer recipe (it will be available soon, the president said). Redditors asked a number of policy questions, including how he plans to help small businesses if re-elected.
“We've really focused on [small business aid] since I came into office--18 tax cuts for small business, easier funding from the SBA. Going forward, I want to keep taxes low for the 98 percent of small businesses that have $250,000 or less in income, make it easier for small business to access financing, and expand their opportunities to export.”
Obama also wrote that he would continue to support the JOBS Act he signed in April making it easier for start-ups to access crowdfunding and receive tax breaks.
As for the election issue dear to Ohanian--Internet freedom--Obama said the Internet should remain a place where businesses can thrive. “We will fight hard to make sure that the Internet remains the open forum for everybody," Obama wrote. "From those who are expressing an idea to those to want to start a business." For the record, the official Republican platform includes a section on supporting Internet freedom as well.
After crashing the servers due to traffic overload and providing a photo to prove that he (and not a campaign aide) was actually on the other end of the computer, Obama signed off so that he could make it back to D.C. in time for dinner.
“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,” he wrote before he signed off.
In recent weeks, both President Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney have increased personal participation on their social media sites after a PEW Research report showed that both were rarely engaging with followers online.