Marcin AmA April-4-2014
Marcin participated in an Ask me Anything (AmA) on reddit on April 4, 2014. It generated a decent amount of positive discussion and visibility for OSE. From this, the benefits offered by Reddit's niche communities have been made apparent, and I will be researching these benefits more deeply.
- Increase visibility of OSE on the web.
- Promote the true fans program and upcoming workshops.
- Increase the size and activity of the [www.reddit.com/r/OpenSourceEcology Open Source Ecology subreddit.]
The AmA occurred on Friday April 4, 2014 at 3:00 PM EST, the thread can be found here. I began posting links to the OSE workshops on various subreddits about a week before the AmA including Sustainability, Selfsufficiency, Engineering, and SimpleLiving. These posts averaged around 10 upvotes, and I had one user comment and say they signed up for the Microhouse workshop. From this, it was made apparent that OSE already has a relatively positive perception on Reddit, though the interest was only minimal for these posts.
The morning before Marcin's AmA I started a thread on /r/OpensourcEcology to announce the AmA. I then linked to this thread on many of the subreddits listed above. These posts averaged about 21 upvotes, and the post made to /r/SimpleLiving reached 44.
I posted Marcin's IAmA thread on /r/IAmA about 10 minutes before the scheduled start time using his username. Marcin then posted a link to facebook to bring in the first round of users. This allowed people to trickle in and begin asking questions ahead of time and since we were bringing people from facebook, it allowed the thread to get a good amount of up votes early, which ensures it does not get buried off the front page of the sub Reddit. This latter benefit helps improve the visibility of the thread on the IAmA subreddit. Marcin began answering questions right at 3:00 PM EST and did so until approximately 5:00 PM EST.
- 23 unique questions
- 90 comments (Marcin was 1/3 of these)
- 45 up votes for AmA Thread
- 20 additional subscribers to the OSE subreddit (Increase of ~2.5%)
Overall, I rate this a marginal success. As a regular user of Reddit over the last year, I have seen that OSE is generally perceived very positively on Reddit, and this AmA demonstrates this. Additionally, the discussion was lively, touched a wide range of important subjects, and was overwhelmingly positive.
However, the exposure OSE received was less than I had hoped for; I think there were a number of things that caused this. For starters, there was one major celebrity that was scheduled a few hours before Marcin, and three others that decided to do an AmA who weren't scheduled. These celebrities drew a large amount of the users on the subreddit and likely led to people being less interested in Marcin's. Additionally, late Friday afternoon does not seem to be the best time to do an AmA because people are focused on the end of the work week and are less likely to spend much time on sites like Reddit. Marcin's AmA got a total of 45 up votes in the first 3 hours; I was expecting that number to be in the hundreds at least.
It seems that the users of Reddit, in general, are very interested in the work of OSE. I think a major hurdle in increasing visibility on Reddit is the level of complexity of OSE's work. I think many people have a hard time understanding what the GVCS means for society at large because it is challenging to picture OSE's goal of creating economic revolution through the building of tractors and brick presses. Reddit has the ability to create viral interest in subjects, but those subjects need to be highly appealing at whatever point in time they are posted. This means if Marcin or OSE has an event that puts them in the limelight, an AmA can be used to turn that publicity viral. Of course, this requires a very specific chain of events, and this is not something that can be easily peformed.
The primary, immediate benefit of Reddit seems to be within the niche communities rather than the mainstream culture of Reddit. There are many highly talented people who participate on specific subreddit communities and the people have diverse skill-sets and backgrounds. For example, the 3D printing subreddit includes amatuers, people involved with the Rep Rap project, and professionals in the industry. OSE needs to tap into these communities to find participants in the design process as well as to get feedback on OSE's design work.
The Next Steps
Now that I have seen how niche communities on Reddit can be tapped into to help the organization, I plan on promoting the work of OSE across a number of Reddit communities. The best method for doing so is to create a thread on OSE's subreddit and link to it from related subreddits (otherwise known as cross-posting).
I have developed a plan for using Reddit to help OSE here.