President Barack Obama has occasionally been called FDR 2.0. And while the Franklin Delano Roosevelt part has fallen short from time to time, the president has done a pretty decent job living up to the 2.0 part through aggressive use of the Web and new media.
For example, Obama made a bold move today and jumped into one of the Internet's blackest holes, Reddit, a place lit only by flame wars. And it's not just any ol' Reddit thread about Princess Leia porn or the hottest new trends in animated cat gifs, Obama set up a genuine AMA—that's Reddit speak for "ask me anything."
Hi, I’m Barack Obama, president of the United States. Ask me anything. I’ll be taking your questions for half an hour starting at about 4:30 ET.
Proof it's me: https://twitter.com/BarackObama/status/240903767350968320
We're running early and will get started soon.
UPDATE: Hey everybody - this is barack. Just finished a great rally in Charlottesville, and am looking forward to your questions. At the top, I do want to say that our thoughts and prayers are with folks who are dealing with Hurricane Isaac in the Gulf, and to let them know that we are going to be coordinating with state and local officials to make sure that we give families everything they need to recover.
Verification photo: http://i.imgur.com/oz0a7.jpg
LAST UPDATE: I need to get going so I'm back in DC in time for dinner. But 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. AND REMEMBER TO VOTE IN NOVEMBER - if you need to know how to register, go to Gottaregister.com. By the way, if you want to know what I think about this whole reddit experience - NOT BAD!
Surprisingly, the top-voted question at the time of publication had to do with what the president is planning to do for soldiers returning home with PTSD.
But scroll down a little bit and you'll find some Reddit staples: Internet freedom and whether the prez likes cats.
There is also no shortage of users correcting Obama on his grammar or punctuation.
"Don't correct the President, neckbeard," one user wrote in response to a grammar critique.
"You're about to get a knock on your door," said another.
"Even the president isn't safe on Reddit," a third summarized nicely.
The full post can be read here.