Tim Ferriss meets a tough audience in Friday’s Reddit Digest

Live interviews on Reddit are not nearly as easy as they seem, even for a self-help guru and a senior editor at The New Republic.


Kevin Morris

Internet Culture

Published Feb 24, 2012   Updated Jun 2, 2021, 8:56 pm CDT

Want to read Reddit but don’t have the time? Our daily Reddit Digest highlights the most interesting or important discussions from around the social news site—every morning.

  • Self-help guru Tim Ferriss is accepting questions for a video AMA, and it appears to be teetering on the edge of disaster. Redditors are skeptical of a guy who’s well known as a master of social marketing, and they’re jumping all over comments in the thread that they believe are being left by his marketing team posing as regular users. (/r/IAmA)

  • Noam Scheiber, senior editor at The New Republic, also tried his hand at an AMA yesterday. It went reasonably well, in the sense that it attracted a good range of questions. By while The Atlantic‘s James Fallows managed to collect hundreds of points, Scheber’s topped out at a couple dozen. What gives? It’s possible name recognition played a part, but the real issue was that Sheiber committed the a cardinal AMA sin: He started the thread two hours before he was actually ready to answer questions. Someone needs to write an AMA handbook for these poor old media folks. (/r/IAmA)

  • Should squabbles among Reddit’s so-called power-users matter to most of the site’s users? That’s a question currently under discussion in /r/TheoryOfReddit. In terms of traffic, Reddit’s default subreddits are actually valuable pieces of online property. And the moderator squabbles make clear the weakness of Reddit’s current hierarchical structure. As kleinbl00 puts it: “There aren’t many similarly-sized organizations with so little hierarchy and so little accountability. In a way, Reddit ‘moderation’ is similar to a dictatorship where the rulers can’t kill their dissidents and the ruled can’t overthrow their despots.” (/r/SubredditDrama)

  • A developer posts an image-based ad to /r/Android to promote his first game. Outside of /r/IAmA‘s, this seems the only way to promote a product on Reddit. There are a couple of rules to success, however: make yourself look like the little guy, appeal for Reddit’s sympathy, and, most importantly, add cats. “I feel the ad is a bit trying too hard, but then again, your brain is shot from spending 18 months on a game,” dementedsnake writes. “So, I’ll forgive you.” (/r/Android)

  • /r/Random_Acts_Of_Pizza users raise $1,600 within minutes (literally, judging from the time stamps) to send a moderator to Argentina for a Habitat for Humanity project. A redditor named Daniel Emoto added $920 in a single donation. (/r/Random_Acts_Of_Pizza)

  • Is it possible that animals talk to themselves the same way we do? “It would be difficult if not impossible to determine if other species have a true inner monologue because we are unable to communicate with them. We do know that similar areas as described above are active in primates, but we can’t query them as to their perceptions of events.” That’s the answer, but the build up to the answer is far more fascinating and touches briefly on the cause of schizophrenia. (/r/askscience)

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*First Published: Feb 24, 2012, 10:57 am CST