Yesterday we did our first Reddit AMA with The World’s host, Marco Werman.
Before the AMA
AMAs are a rite-of-passage on Reddit, which is the #2 social referrer to pri.org, behind Facebook. We did our homework and wanted to make sure our AMA was known and scheduled by the AMA moderators, so we contacted Victoria Taylor, Director of Communications at Reddit and AMA queen (read her own AMA on her experiences here). It was thrilling to see Marco’s name on the “official Reddit” schedule on the main subreddit page, with its 6.2 million subscribers!
Starting the AMA
When 4:30 p.m. rolled along, we set up Marco in the business office and with Victoria talking us through it on the phone he created his AMA post. It is important to write a strong title to the post, as that is what will make people click. We decided that a simple appeal to Marco’s job hosting a national radio broadcast was pretty cool, and left the discussion open to questions about Marco himself as well as our show.
In the body of the post, Marco went into more detail about his background and how he got to where he is today, plus a few links to his favorite stories.
Finally, you have to include your proof! We tweeted a photo of Marco in the studio:
Once the post was up, we sent around the unique URL to our fans and listeners on social networks and on pri.org.
During the AMA
I was expecting to be hands-on, helping Marco select which questions to answer and deal with potential trolls. I was surprised: As soon as questions started rolling in, Marco hunkered down and furiously typed out his responses without needing any help at all.
He approached the AMA in exactly the right way: Humbly, and honestly. The Reddit crowd (and the PRI’s The World crowd) are a smart bunch, and they didn’t disappoint. Dozens of smart, creative, and unexpected questions came in and Marco tackled them with enthusiasm.
After the AMA
Eventually the number of questions coming in died down (and Marco needed dinner), so he hit the “edit” button to the original post and updated it to read:
Even though the AMA was officially over, we’ll be keeping an eye on the post for at least a few days. In our case, over 60 questions came in overnight. It’s not required, but Marco wants to continue to answer questions between his many interviews today and after the show tonight.
For all the hype and excitement, it was super easy to hold an AMA and I would recommend that people try it. While it works with high profile hosts and talent, try as well to think of unique opportunities with an unexpected person. I was excited to read The Guardian’s AMA yesterday with Matt Wells, who is covering Scottish independence. That was a smart move because it had a relevant news peg, and it framed the conversation in a really interesting way.