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What is the genealogy of the AMA?
January 7, 2014 10:15 PM   Subscribe

The Atlantic attempts to explain how Reddit's Ask Me Anything became a "mainstream delight." [Previously]. [Even more previously]. [Even more previously than that].

Also:

The Interview Revolution that has Everyone Talking.
posted by MoonOrb (36 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
Let's talk about Rampart, people.
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 10:19 PM on January 7 [13 favorites]


I had no idea about the guy with two penises. I've really fallen behind on my internet.
posted by item at 10:39 PM on January 7 [4 favorites]


The genealogy of reddit involves a man with two penises. Why am I not surprised.
posted by mannequito at 10:40 PM on January 7 [3 favorites]


you know I managed to avoid any photo of the man with two penises for the longest time until I was in bed, waking up from jet-lag, pre-coffee, and my SO shoved his tablet in my face with "Look at this medical condition".

Now I'm trying to figure out how to get back at someone who orders human body parts from a catalog for a living.
posted by The Whelk at 10:45 PM on January 7 [4 favorites]


Swap some of his orders around, duh.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:50 PM on January 7 [2 favorites]


The seinfeld AMA was surprisingly good.
posted by empath at 11:25 PM on January 7 [8 favorites]


Much like the sitcom bearing his name.
posted by item at 11:30 PM on January 7


I'm still reading about Doubledick.

Why was this never a FPP?
posted by Joe in Australia at 11:34 PM on January 7


Hollywood has figured out the formula over the past 6-9 months. It's transparently easy to play to the reddit crowd (oh god he knows about meme du jour / makes dirty jokes / tosses us a tiny crumb of honest feeling). Some of the early forays (like the unfortunate Woody Harrelson Rampart AMA) into the AMA world were amazing trainwrecks with PR handlers prepared for a boilerplate interview on Entertainment Tonight and instead got a flaming horde of internet trolls and fans demanding fan service.
posted by MillMan at 11:48 PM on January 7 [12 favorites]


No one was cocky enough to post it, Joe.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:48 PM on January 7 [5 favorites]


I'd have posted it, but I just don't have a head for FPPs.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:49 PM on January 7


For a thick skinned celebrity who knows a little internet, the AMA is one of the best venues.

My personal favorites are
Neil Degrasse Tyson
Seinfeld
Col. Chris Hadfield
Monty Python
Dr. Hooshang Amirahmadi-presidential candidate in Iran
Dan Rather

The worst is tie between Woody Harrelson and Barack Obama.
posted by psycho-alchemy at 11:52 PM on January 7


Keanu Reeves' was excellent, truly chill.
posted by lumensimus at 12:17 AM on January 8 [1 favorite]


Why was this never a FPP?

Oh man I wanted to... It was a frequent topic of conversation in chat.
posted by empath at 12:17 AM on January 8


Why was this never a FPP?

Would have been deleted as a double.
posted by MoonOrb at 12:24 AM on January 8 [21 favorites]


You want some AMA eye-openers? Browse the 'new' tab in that sub for awhile.
posted by 0 answers at 1:08 AM on January 8


Nothing will ever top when Snoop turned up in Madonna's AMA. Or the time in Snoop's second(?) AMA when he started asking himself questions about his favourite cereal.
posted by fight or flight at 2:52 AM on January 8 [6 favorites]


Vacuum repair man was my favourite.
posted by vbfg at 3:10 AM on January 8 [5 favorites]


I think the real value, as such, of AMAs isn't just the big names, but the fact that even smaller AMAs can have some real gems. There was a recent one with female pornstar Siri, mostly full of either mediocrity or the usual Reddit idiocy, but her comment on weight and body image in the industry quite deservedly brought it to the attention of /r/bestof.
posted by zombieflanders at 4:41 AM on January 8 [1 favorite]


Vacuum repair man was my favourite.

actually vacuum repair man had an agenda.
posted by any major dude at 4:45 AM on January 8


It's transparently easy to play to the reddit crowd (oh god he knows about meme du jour / makes dirty jokes / tosses us a tiny crumb of honest feeling).

In other news, showing up to a venue with some knowledge of the venue's established traditions and an ability to handle them tends to go over well. Who'da thunk? (That having been said, I'm still a bit embarrassed over Rachel Maddow's AMA fiasco, which devolved into redditors taking her to task for not taking the bait to go to bat for the Obama Administration.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 4:48 AM on January 8 [1 favorite]


AMAs aren't interviews man. Sigh.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 4:55 AM on January 8


actually vacuum repair man had an agenda

My mental brush didn't pick that up.
posted by vbfg at 5:30 AM on January 8


Why was this never a FPP?

Well, I had it lined up for this afters, together with the woman with two vaginas, but MoonOrb *shakes fist*
posted by MartinWisse at 6:12 AM on January 8


One of my favourites was the woman who drove 4 miles after being mauled by a bear. Her dogs saved her. She had a book but if I remember correctly, someone posted something about her on an unrelated reddit, and her son said "hey that's my mum should she do an AMA?" At the time I think it was almost the most upvoted AMA, people really took to it and her personality really shone through. Also someone told her she should marry Ron Swanson.

There's a reddit called tabled, don't know if it covers all the AMAs but you can see the Q and As without all the stupid one liners and memes and daft questions that don't get answered.
posted by jamesonandwater at 8:12 AM on January 8 [3 favorites]


/r/Iama is consistently the easiest diamond to rough ratio in the "big" subreddits. Daily there are interesting AMAs from just random professions that you can get lost in. It's also becoming a great thing that's trickling into smaller subreddits when it can fit very specifically, ie this year I've seen a growth in current NFL players giving AMAs in /r/nfl which are often very interesting.

And sure, Hollywood has "figured it out", but who cares? No one's making you read the uninteresting one's where people are just doing harmless PR, and the potential for it to be awesome is undeniable.
posted by DynamiteToast at 9:22 AM on January 8 [1 favorite]


When I launched my cider book late last year I did an AMA in the /r/homebrewing subreddit. It was a blast.
posted by drewbage1847 at 10:14 AM on January 8 [1 favorite]


is there an objective measurement of how much a web page is "a juggernaut of a media brand"?
posted by rebent at 10:54 AM on January 8 [1 favorite]


jamesonandwater: "There's a reddit called tabled, don't know if it covers all the AMAs but you can see the Q and As without all the stupid one liners and memes and daft questions that don't get answered."

Bless your many unborn children.
posted by IAmBroom at 11:57 AM on January 8 [1 favorite]


It's ripped off from 4chan, like everything else on Reddit.
posted by w0mbat at 12:00 PM on January 8


Reddit is surprisingly human.

Just don't click that "random subreddit" link on the home page. Just... don't.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 12:36 PM on January 8 [1 favorite]


St. Peepsburg: "Reddit is surprisingly human."

My God! It's people! Reddit is made out of people!
posted by IAmBroom at 2:00 PM on January 8


Appropriately enough, Sir David Attenborough has just done an AMA.

Personally I was hoping for some Attenborough/Snoop action, but you can't have everything.
posted by fight or flight at 2:49 PM on January 8 [1 favorite]


Chuck Palahniuk has done two so far, and both are excellent.

As expected, he transparently admits that both are to promote a specific new work he wants to sell to everyone on reddit, but he really takes to the form well. Someone asks about getting into a rut. The first response is some random saying 'I hope he answers this one' and Palahniuk responds:
Yes, I hope he answers this one, too.

The rub is that if you change style people feel betrayed -- witness the huge schism between early and later fans of the Star Wars films and the Woody Allen films. That said, I flushed most of the past two years down the toilet, shedding my favorite tics and violating every writing rule taught to me by Tom Spanbauer. My style is becoming baroque, as is my spelling. I yearn now to be the dirty-minded Henry James. Stay tuned for "Beautiful You" the book that will put my master plan of "Gonzo Erotica" into effect.

No choruses. Lots of adverbs. Gordon Lish will put out a hit on me.


And he just keeps going with little jokes, stories, and revelations about little moments on tour (the whiskey bottle was full of tea). He and Snoop Dogg are probably the masters of the celebrity AMA so far- relateable but still existing in a completely different world.
posted by sandswipe at 3:54 PM on January 8


This article is totally fucking wrong about Reddit's "first AMA."

If you mean the post that inspired the creation of /r/IAmA, it's this 4 year old post on /r/AskReddit:

Ask Reddit | I am a 20 yr straight male who gets paid to have phone sex with gay men. Any questions?.

The "I am xyz. any questions?" format was an exciting reversal of the AskReddit format, and proliferated on that subreddit for about a week until user 32bites announced the creation of /r/IAmA.

The article alludes to the founders being the first AMA's. They weren't and the Atlantic really sucked a big one on that.
posted by Taft at 1:30 AM on January 9


/r/IAmA is one of the better 'big' subreddits, with a lot of high quality material. Jerry Seinfeld's AMA just the other day was really good, and turned me onto Seinfeld's new project, Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee which is fantastic viewing.


I did a small AMA of my own a few months after /r/IAmA was created, which was reasonably well received, given the subject matter and the fact it was posted in the middle of the night in the US. I ended up corresponding with a couple of other users for several months afterwards, who were considering getting into my trade, answering any questions they had, and hopefully helping out as best I can.
posted by Legs11 at 4:24 AM on January 9


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