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Ask Me Anything... About Reddit AMAs

Communicating science on a social news site: a talk on the benefits of being asked anything.

Rebecca Fowler

on 15 April 2014

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Transcript of Ask Me Anything... About Reddit AMAs

Ask Me Anything (AMA)
A subset of Reddit, AMA, allows people to share their expertise through an online question and answer session.

An AMA is like an organized online town-hall meeting with people shouting out questions to the host.

The crowd votes questions up or down so that the most popular and interesting content rises to the top.

How to do an AMA
Think about what makes you + your work unique
Set aside enough time (two hours minimum)
Provide proof of your identity
Promote it: social media + other channels
Keep your answers informative and succinct
Be yourself
Expect some criticism and/or challenging questions
Don't feel like you have to answer every question
Why do an AMA?
Broaden your impact -- for free
Get familiar with talking about your research in a low stress environment (lots of time to think about your answers)
Freedom to choose the questions you want to answer
Amplify your other outreach efforts
Provide the public a window into the world of research
What is Reddit?
Reddit is an interactive social news website with 70 million monthly users who submit and rate content.

Reddit is referred to as an Internet firehose: a repository of the good, the bad, the silly and the shocking.

Neil Degrasse Tyson described Reddit as, “A raging community of people with boundless curiosity.”

Scientists Say..
“Overall, I liked doing it and would like to do another. I would encourage other scientists to give it a try.”
-- Tony Barnston

Reddit Vernacular
A topic specific message board about anything from cats to sports to cats doing sports
a popular subreddit and home to...
Ask Me Anything, a popular Reddit topic

Ask me
Rebecca Fowler
Tony Barnston
IRI Chief ENSO Forecaster
Popular AMAs
AMAs Aren't Just for Celebrities
Ask Me Anything...
About Reddit AMAs

"I think this is one of the best methods for broadening outreach impacts. In our AMA, we had questions from fellow scientists, college students, elementary school kids, as well as adults not professionally involved in science.”
-- Craig Aumack
Rebecca Fowler, @by_rebecca
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Full transcript