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Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Nate Silver and Hilary Duff Kick Off #Reddit's #Video #AMAs

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After months of hiring, firing, mutiny and general chaos, Reddit might finally be starting to bounce back. The full recovery from the turmoil which spread during Ellen Pao's brief tenure will take a long time, but we're seeing the first signs of forward momentum again. AMAs played a big role in Pao's eventual resignation, but they remain one of the most important, popular aspects of the site, and now they're making the leap from text to video.


Obviously, these videos lack the spontaneity of their written predecessors (or random appearances from Tom Hanks), as the answers have to be recording rather than going out on a live feed, but the format offers for more detailed, less pre-planned answers as the subject can be seen muddling each question through as they speak. Neil DeGrasse Tyson was an apt choice, considering he's a physicist, rather than any kind of standard celebrity. His questions are also all within the context of art, which makes things doubly interesting since art and the wider universe are not commonly linked.


The Hilary Duff one is a bit more unremarkable, being that it's in the /r/IAmA subreddit. Most of the questions surround her personal life, her career and her experience on Tinder. Nate Silver's is more interesting by it's very nature, given that he's a statistician, assuming that you find numbers and data even a fraction as interesting as he does. The videos themselves are so well produced and stylistically distinct that even if the subject doesn't overly interest you, they manage to be engaging. The subjects are also very obviously hearing the questions for the first time, which makes the whole thing feel a lot more, well, human.


Clearly, the best questions are cherry picked, so it's not completely improvisational, but it still makes for more interesting fare than just laboriously reading through a list of text responses, particularly when half the answers are only a couple of words. 

More than just interviews though, these videos are a demonstration of the production quality Reddit have at their disposal. The AMAs will continue, but they also plan on bringing out documentaries and user-submitted content. It's an excellent idea, one which will give Reddit an even more unique identity in the social media arms race.



Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @CallumAtSMF


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Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Nate Silver and Hilary Duff Kick Off #Reddit's #Video #AMAs Reviewed by Callum Davies on Saturday, October 10, 2015 Rating: 5

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