Reddit takes wraps off Ask Me Anything app

SAN FRANCISCO: Reddit, a social networking site where users can submit and rate content, has launched a mobile app dedicated to its Ask Me Anything interviews in an effort to be proactive and grow.

SAN FRANCISCO: Reddit has launched a mobile app dedicated to its Ask Me Anything user-conducted interview sessions in an effort to grow its user base and boost interactivity.

The official Reddit AMA app can be downloaded for Apple’s iOS operating system, and the site plans to make it available for Android users later this week. It enables users to stay up-to-date with the latest AMA interviews, ask questions of an active participant, get notified when AMAs are trending, and view answered questions in a mobile-friendly format, among other features.

AMA interviews explore diverse topics including entertainment, science, and politics, according to the app’s description on iTunes. In some ways, they resemble press conferences, but take place on Reddit’s website and with its users asking the questions. The site’s AMA section has 6.2 million followers, and participants have included President Barack Obama, Madonna, Harrison Ford, Tom Hanks, and executives from companies such as Intel and Taco Bell.

Reddit broke the news about its app with Variety on Tuesday morning. At about noon on Tuesday, the site published a blog post about the launch written by SVP Ellen Pao, who oversees the company’s mobile efforts. Reddit also linked to the blog post on its social media pages.

"Ideally, when people learn about Reddit, they should have an understanding of what it is, not just what others portray Reddit to be," Pao wrote on the Reddit blog. "So we created this introductory app for people to enjoy some of the best of Reddit."

The site launched the app due to the fact that 40% of new users in August came from mobile – five times of what that number was in August 2011. Further, one-third of page views are coming from the mobile web, according to Variety. Pao also told the magazine that the website is taking a more proactive strategy to promote AMAs and that while Reddit will provide exposure to native advertising elsewhere on its site, it will not appear within the Q&A sessions.

This is Reddit’s second attempt to launch an app of its own. It abandoned a previous app in 2011 that would have provided access to the entire site after a series of glitches.

In April, communications professionals who have set up AMA sessions on behalf of corporate leaders and celebrities told PRWeek that the no-holds-barred, wildly unpredictable nature of the Q&A platform can make them a minefield of potential PR missteps for participants.

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