CNN anchor Don Lemon followed up on a promise to redditors this morning, answering dozens of questions in a question and answer session, or IAmA (“I am a”), on the social news site.
Lemon was the toast of social news site Reddit last week after a link to a Daily Show video praising the CNN anchor shot to the top of Reddit’s front page.
Today’s thread, in turn, has hovered near the top of Reddit’s front page for hours -- a level of exposure that shows just how much companies and celebrities can gain by enduring Reddit’s gauntlet of inquisitive users.
The questions were as numerous as they were diverse. Some asked Lemon about Fox News and its claim to impartiality (“no comment” Lemon replied), while others asked him how he became interested in reporting, and others inquired about what a drink named after him would be made of (according to Lemon: "A lil vodka, some lemonade, a splash of sparkling water for bubbles and I'd stir it with one of my fingers. Aaahhh refreshing!").
Redditors were especially curious about Lemon’s attitude towards his employer, CNN -- that was the source of his original fame on the site, after all.
“What do you need to do to bring integrity to CNN?” jimmy_mc asked.
Lemon responded, in part: “I don't think i need to bring integrity back to CNN. CNN never lost integrity. I just think CNN can be better at reaching people like Redditors. And that's one reason I'm here.”
In fact, Lemon’s appearance on Reddit can only be a nice publicity boost for CNN.
The link-sharing site receives about 1.2 billion page views a month and is the 47th most visited site in the U.S., according to Alexa.
But it is a notoriously difficult nut for media companies to crack. Redditors are unusually vigilant in their spam reporting efforts, and are skeptical of any attempt to game them
Just last week, in fact, Reddit launched branded communities, which it hopes will give companies the kind of “awesome conversation” that “is supposed to be happening on Twitter and Facebook," according to general manager Erik Martin.
But IAmA’s are different. They’re not a corporate footprint on the site. Instead, it’s one time conversation, which builds on the community’s give-and-take ethos -- the celebrity isn’t just asking for something, they’re also contributing something.
And in Lemon’s case, contributing a lot -- he answered 34 questions so far, many of which were a good paragraph long (compare that to Lemon’s abbreviated responses to his fans on Twitter).
“We need a lot more Journalist like you Don,” wrote Cozmo23, with 50 upvotes.
That’s the kind of feedback any reporter, or news organization, would want to hear.