I am Barack Obama, President of the United States — AMA

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    President takes to Reddit for online reputation management

    First, we saw the Navy’s excellent social media program surface, then the Air Force’s savvy soared into the public eye. Now, the Commander in Chief himself has joined the party!

    Yesterday, a thread popped up in Reddit.com’s “I am a…Ask Me Anything” Q&A section titled, “I am Barack Obama, President of the United States — AMA.” Now Reddit users are a skeptical bunch by nature, but the fact that the post was both tagged as verified by moderators and included a pic of President Obama manning a laptop was proof enough to bring visitors pouring in. Within minutes, Reddit, no stranger to high traffic, had crashed from the sheer volume of users attempting to reach Barack’s AMA, but in the end, he was able to answer ten questions that ranged in topic from the White House’s new beer and what his favorite basketball player is (Jordan, btw), to Internet freedom, perks for small business and ways to help college grads get on their feet.

    Not only did Obama come off as personable, intelligent, and passionate through what I must assume was heavy vetting of posts by White House staffers, but his team also put together a special site just for the event, www.BarackObama.com/reddit that seamlessly blended the ever-present (at least on Reddit) meme with a political call-to-action. With just short of 24,000 comments, the vast majority either positive or voicing calm, intelligent dissent, in response to a very brief Q&A session, we would call this one a groundbreaking success in online reputation management for the office of the President.

    For more resources, see the Free Management Library topic: Crisis Management

    [Jonathan Bernstein is president of Bernstein Crisis Management, Inc., an international crisis management consultancy, author of Manager’s Guide to Crisis Management and Keeping the Wolves at Bay – Media Training, and co-host of The Crisis Show. Erik Bernstein is Social Media Manager for the firm, and also the editor of its newsletter, Crisis Manager]