After placing fifth in last year’s “Grow a Collegiate SubReddit” competition, Virginia Tech is welcoming Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian on his 100-stop college tour. Ohanian will arrive Nov. 15, making his 18th stop of the trip and marking his second trip to Tech this year.
The tour is technically a promotion for Ohanian’s new book, titled "Without Their Permission," but he also wants to raise awareness about the importance of the internet for this generation of college students.
“What I want to promote is how our generation has a tremendous opportunity to do amazing things online. We're all still figuring out just what kind of an impact the internet will have on the world -- let's be the ones doing it,” said Ohanian in a blog statement he released on Sept. 5 outlining the collegiate tour.
Reddit’s founder has organized book-signing and networking time after each event. Following that, students will determine where they can find Ohanian downtown.
One of the most exciting aspects of the collegiate tour is the fact that Ohanian plans to bring a special guest with him to each university he visits.
“I'm bringing back an alumn of your school so I can interview him or her about all the awesome stuff she or he has done online since graduating,” says Ohanian.
Ohanian graduated from the University of Virginia in 2005 with a B.A. in History and a B.S. in Commerce. Shortly after, he co-founded the website Reddit.com with Steve Huffman, a fellow UVa. graduate.
Reddit has quickly become one of the most trafficked websites in the past three to four years. Bearing the slogan “the front page of the internet,” the site is mainly a social news and entertainment website. Users of the site can register to submit content in the form of links or text posts. The content is regulated by users by “upvoting” and “downvoting” posts, the idea behind the system being to keep content fresh. Users can also engage in dialogue with other users on every submitted post to the site, which is also regulated through the upvoting and downvoting system.
What makes Reddit unique is that it has the potential to reach a wide audience through the division of the site into different subReddits, which can range in theme from politics, atheism, pictures, or news. Virginia Tech has its own subReddit where current students and alumni can share content and dialogue specific to the university.
Ohanian is looking to involve his student audience at each school as much as possible. In his blog, he states that before he stops at each university, he will create a post on their college’s subReddit asking the students what sorts of questions they would like him to answer. He expects his talks to function in typical AMA (Ask Me Anything) fashion, AMAs being one of the most trafficked subReddit functions on the site where celebrities and other well-known people are featured answering users’ posted questions.