How Not To Do A Reddit AMA: A Primer

Follow these simple rules for not looking like an asshat.

  • Traditional public relations agencies are constantly looking for new ways to promote their clients. It is an age of crowdsourcing and "new media," so they are all told, and we (i.e. old boring men) must appear to be on the cutting edge of new technology. It is with this belief system that many unprepared promoters turn their attention to Reddit and its Ask Me Anything (AMA) section.

    Here's how it works. A person of note, or a person with a particular characteristic of interest to the Reddit community — for example, a telemarketer, or a person who suffers from schizophrenia — logs on, introduces themselves, says "Ask Me Anything," and then answers questions.

    Increasingly, famous authors, actors and musicians will do an AMA to promote a new project. This is fine, as long as they answer other questions as well. Arnold Schwarzenegger has been great at this.

    But, every so often, you get people who just can't seem to do it right, and the Reddit community really gets rubbed the wrong way. Here are some tips to keep in mind so that your Reddit AMA leaves everyone with positive vibes.

  • 1. Don't Create Fake Accounts

    One thing Reddit values above nearly all else is authenticity. An individual that tries to make itself look better by fielding softball questions will not be appreciated.

    Nissan learned this just this week (and inspired this post), when CEO Carlos Ghosn answered questions posed by several accounts that were just created, and suspected to have originated from Nissan itself.

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    This question is BigDoug75's only comment on Reddit, which led users to believe that it was a plant.

    Mashable has a full list of suspected plants in the Nissan AMA.

  • 2. Answer Questions About Something Other Than The Thing You're Promoting

    In what is now the most infamous AMA disaster of all time, Woody Harrelson's AMA for 2012 featured only very short replies to questions about the actor's latest film, Rampart. For example, Harrelson's favorite film role? Rampart. Favorite improvised line? Rampart. Did you show up at this guy's prom and sleep with a girl? Double Rampart.

    Reddit user sailormooncake said it best.

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  • 3. Don't Be Anti-Weed

    Reddit users love their weed. There are about 3,400 subreddits devoted entirely to the subject. Retired narcotics officer Mark Langan, in an otherwise reasonable AMA, spoke out against the legalization of marijuana, and backed his opinion up with anecdotes instead of facts. The community responded swiftly.

  • Screen shot 2015 01 13 at 2.13.31 pm

    Some might argue, however, that being called a "real simpleton meathead" online is something of a victory. I am one of those people.

  • 4. Don't Be A Huge Prick Like Jose Canseco

    Jose Canseco is just a real piece of shit. Example:

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    The only revelation from Canseco's brief, childish answers is that he wants to "punch [Madonna] in the nuts."

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