Alexis Ohanian of Reddit teased a "really special AMA" (ask me anything) for today, and he certainly has delivered — President Barack Obama will be answering questions on Reddit for a half-hour today. The AMA begins at 4:30pm ET, and the president says he'll be around to answer questions for about 30 minutes. If you want to get your own question in there, head on over to Reddit now — the AMA thread is open for business.
Update: As for how this all came together, All Things D reports that Ohanian has gotten to know a number of White House staffers over the years. In an email, he says that "there are quite a few redditors at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave and at the campaign HQ - given the prominence of reddit, it's an easy sell."
While this came as a surprise, it's not shocking to see President Obama embrace yet another social media outlet — he's already hosted Google+ hangouts and signed up for both Pinterest and Instagram. Still, with no filter on questions being asked, this is probably the most up-close and personal online interaction with any president ever — though with a flood of traffic that's already brought Reddit to its knees, we wouldn't get our hopes up on getting a question answered.
Here's a selection of the technology-focused questions and answers President Obama is addressing:
From SharkGirl: "We know how Republicans feel about protecting Internet Freedom. Is Internet Freedom an issue you'd push to add to the Democratic Party's 2012 platform?"
Internet freedom is something I know you all care passionately about; I do too. We will fight hard to make sure that the internet remains the open forum for everybody - from those who are expressing an idea to those to want to start a business. And although their will be occasional disagreements on the details of various legislative proposals, I won't stray from that principle - and it will be reflected in the platform.From ormirian: "Are you considering increasing funds to the space program?"
Making sure we stay at the forefront of space exploration is a big priority for my administration. The passing of Neil Armstrong this week is a reminder of the inspiration and wonder that our space program has provided in the past; the curiosity probe on mars is a reminder of what remains to be discovered. The key is to make sure that we invest in cutting edge research that can take us to the next level - so even as we continue work with the international space station, we are focused on a potential mission to a asteroid as a prelude to a manned Mars flight.
Update: Unfortunately, President Obama has wrapped up his session after answering ten questions. After responding to user gobearss on how he balances his family life and hobbies with the responsibilities of his office, the president concluded by urging everyone to vote this November 6th — and said that he thought the whole Reddit experience was "NOT BAD!"