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Politicians tend to play things pretty straight, but the regular people and niche celebrities tend to open up in fascinating ways.Over the last several years, the Iam A subreddit has gone from interesting curiosity to a juggernaut of a media brand.The space is, at least by declaration, a social-convention-free zone, and many of the question-answerers try to follow along, albeit less comfortably than the pseudonymous or anonymous.In a world where every man on the street is so goddamn media savvy, each interview feels transgressive.No one makes a living asking questions of AMA participants. There is Reddit, writ-large, and the moderators, but the form of mediation is communal, quantitative, and amateur, not subjective and professional. Know Your Meme says there was a mid-'90s AOL chatroom called, "Ask Me Anything" in the romance category.(Though it had disappeared by 1999, when the Internet Archive began capturing data on )Slashdot began doing crowdsourced interviews in the summer of 1999.But there aren't clear corollaries for the AMA in previous media or social culture.This is a new media form for our PR-managed, ultra-spun times.

Moderators picked their 10 favorite questions and shipped them off to the interviewee.It may be, as a friend of mine put it, that "magazines are about connecting people to other people," but being the conduit is the way journalists and writers make their names.In the AMA, there is no journalist, no writer, no personal brand. Here's how I would lay it out, knowing that the evolution of something like this will always be more complex than the stories we tell about it..The electricity is generated, I would contend, from the strange, murky recesses of the Internet where AMAs began.The genius of the AMA: It imports the aspirational norms of honesty and authenticity from pseudonymous Internet forums into a public venue with 2.5 million subscribers.