If you haven’t heard already, the “mayor of the Internet,” a.k.a reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian is at Wesleyan today.
11:15 a.m. Arrive at Wesleyan and join Professor Greg Goldberg’s “Media and Society” class already in progress
12 p.m. “Without Their Permission” talk and booksigning with Peter Frank ’12 of Texts.com (details here)
2 p.m. Meeting with student programmer group and student entrepreneurs Exley 139
3 p.m. Depart Wesleyan
There are a bunch of questions for Ohanian on the Wesleyen subreddit, some selected ones here:
From the Argus: Some people would say the internet is the most powerful means of doing good the world has ever seen, and that it can bring people together to solve seemingly intractable problems. It does, however, have its downside–one notable example would be the Boston Marathon bombing manhunt, during which a group of Redditors identified the wrong suspect, causing widespread panic and hindering the investigation. What are the limitations and risks of harnessing the power of the internet for problem-solving, and how can they be best addressed?
From the classic ‘wes anon’:
Can you talk about anonymity on the internet? Specifically, how does one foster a community that is anonymous and not have it overrun by things like bullying or racist language (this is one of the things I hate most about reddit, to be honest, even though I love certain parts of the site). Is there a solution?
If you didn’t get a ticket to the event, you can check out our liveblog below:
reddit co-founder visits; get tickets here
Dubbed the “Mayor of the Internet” by Forbes, and one of the greatest believers of the Internet’s democratic potential, reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian will visit Wesleyan on Thursday, December 5 as part of a 77-college book tour to promote his new book, Without their Permission. With a 140 character limit, he describes himself as:
Startup guy making the world suck less: reddit, breadpig, hipmunk, Y Combinator. Investor, speaker, host of Small Empires, author of Without Their Permission.
Ohanian is now part of the NYC tech scene and extols the idea that “all links are created equal,” which means that this AMA (ask me anything) with Amanda Palmer ’98 and her husband is on the same level as the AMA with Heemz ’07. But mostly, this means that Ohanian believes people can do awesome things together when they use the right platform effectively.
In 2011, Ohanian was involved with the Internet activism against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Cyber Intelligence & Sharing Protection Act (CISPA). Ohanian was invited to speak in front of Congress and subsequently asked the reddit community what he should say in his testimony. When reddit blacked out its home page in protest on January 18, 2012, Wikipedia and Mozilla followed suit, and Google posted a link to a page protesting the piracy bills. Afterwards, legislators were barraged with 10 million petition signatures, 8 million calls, and 4 million e-mails.
Ohanian’s new book is a lot about “harnessing the power of the web for good,” and along the way, he shares his philosophy about entrepreneurship. In a teaser for the book, he had more to say about this (and to Stephen Colbert), in the eloquent, hyped up way I imagine a successful 30 year old tech start up philanthropist to sound like:
It’ll be a while before he shows up for another reunion, so let’s ask him about Wesleyan.
If you told me four years ago that in 2012 the president of the United States would take part in an AMA (Ask Me Anything) on Reddit, I would have said that you’re full of shit. If you have told me four years that in 2012 a member of Das Racist would take part in an AMA on Reddit, I would have said that that seems exactly like something that would probably happen.
Enter Heems (Himanshu Suri ’07) on the day he’s dropping Wild Water Kingdom, the follow-up to last winter’s excellent Nehru Jackets. (Heems is still awaiting approval from fellow Wes alum Le1f, according to this tweet.) In approximately ten minutes, the rapper will be live on Reddit, joining the ranks of celebrities Woody Harrelson (my personal favorite), Trent Reznor, Dave Dederer, and The Onion’s editorial staff to answer your questions: