You know it's August when the President of the United States kicks back, pours himself a White House Beer and starts his own Ask Me Anything thread on Reddit.
The 44th American President, Barack Obama, caused nuclear-meltdown levels of OMG in geekier regions of the Internet yesterday when he created a Reddit account and posted the following message:
"Hi, I'm Barack Obama, President of the United States. Ask me anything. I'll be taking your questions for half an hour starting at about 4:30 ET."
This still wasn't proof enough for some Redditors -- as one user going by the moniker Neural-Override noted in his post: "I won't believe this unless he takes a picture with a shoe on his head."
Neural-Override had to make do with a shot of Obama tippety-tapping away on a MacBook.
Once Redditors had got over the shock, awe and disbelief -- but mostly disbelief -- that POTUS had popped in for a visit, the questions came thick and fast, ranging from straightlaced queries on how he manages his work-life balance to probing questions about the war on terror and the war on drugs, to one thirsty Redditor asking for the White House's beer recipe.
BO's response to the latter: "It will be out soon! I can tell from first hand experience, it is tasty."
As you'd expect, not all of the questions were entirely sensible. DrAvatar asked the sadly unanswered query: "What is in Area 51?" -- leaving conspiracy theories more than enough wiggle room to perform a thousand fresh alien autopsies in the Mojave desert.
After POTUS answered a question asking, "Are you considering increasing funds to the space program?" -- by suggesting a manned flight to Mars could follow on from "a potential mission to a asteroid" -- several Redditors swiftly stepped in to correct his grammar.
"An asteroid, Mr. President," chided s0crates82, which led Whoa_Chill_Bro to deliver this classic riposte: "Don't correct the President, neckbeard."
Another popular topic was -- unsurprisingly -- Internet freedom. And while POTUS side-stepped all the marijuana legalisation questions, he did have something to say on protecting web freedom.
"Internet freedom is something I know you all care passionately about; I do too. We will fight hard to make sure that the Internet remains the open forum for everybody -- from those who are expressing an idea to those to want to start a business. And although there will be occasional disagreements on the details of various legislative proposals, I won't stray from that principle -- and it will be reflected in the [Democratic party's] platform," he said.
To which Redditor ordinaryrendition responded: "Sure thing. Do you like cats?" This prompted the following hand-wringing from thefarcus: "The president responds and you ask if he likes cats... I don't even know."
Some might say taking questions on Reddit is proof enough of Obama's philosophy on an 'almost anything goes' Internet.
As Reddit transformed into an eyeball-sucking cyber blackhole -- neatly diverting attention from the Republican convention taking place at the same time -- the inevitable happened: Obama took Reddit down. Or at least, massively overloaded its servers.
Reddit noted, via its Twitter account, that there were "200k visitors on the site at any one time during POTUS IAMA."
Not bad, POTUS, not bad.
Finally, after his allotted half an hour was up -- and BO had managed to respond to 10 of the thousands of questions Redditors sent him -- he signed off, telling users, "I need to get going so I'm back in DC in time for dinner."
(Which brings to mind another legendary geek sign off: "Smoke me a kipper, I'll be back for breakfast.")
But POTUS had one final titbit to titillate Redditors before he departed for some home-cooked grub: "By the way, if you want to know what I think about this whole Reddit experience -- NOT BAD!"
Which was too much for many on the message board. "THE INTERNET IS OVER! EVERYBODY OUT" sobbed okadery.
"The meme has become self aware," cried Camusforyou.
"It's like the President hit me right in the feels," moaned Rpbailey.
Yes Mr President, your work here is done.