Reddit’s tagline claims the social news site is “the front page of the Internet” — and many users use it as a destination for just that, to keep up with the latest happenings throughout the Interweb. Because of this, you’d expect Reddit to be able to handle massive amounts of traffic. And it does. But when the President of the United States made an impromptu AMA interview on the site on Wednesday, allowing the seething masses to ask the Leader of the Free World direct questions, Reddit buckled under the heavy load. Anyone who tried to visit Reddit during the Obama AMA could tell the stress the site’s servers were under, causing many to wonder: Just how many people did Obama bring to Reddit? And on Friday, by popular demand, Reddit unveiled its traffic statistics from Barack Obama’s AMA. Needless to say, the results were impressive.
Obama’s AMA page alone was host to 30 percent of total Reddit visitors at its peak. According to the site’s team, no single submission has come even close to the attention that Obama’s AMA received. Typically, Reddit’s front page is host to between 15 and 20 percent of active visitors. But Obama’s AMA blew past that figure — the first single submission to ever do so.
Reddit’s staff, which only has 20 members, is the first to admit that the AMA didn’t go as smoothly as they’d hope, with multiple crashes during the Obama AMA’s peak time, despite dedicating 20 percent more of its servers than it typically would to a single thread.
“Did it go perfectly smooth? Nope. Is this the absolute perfect format for politicians to answer questions? Nope. But it worked, and it was a big step, not just for Reddit, but for online communities everywhere,” Reddit’s admins wrote in the blog post.
The draw of Obama brought in 865,092 unique visits to the site overall during the first hour of the AMA, up from the 518,312 browsing Reddit prior to the AMA’s launch. In total, the AMA received over 2.98 million pageviews the day of the AMA, and 5.28 million page views as of the morning of August 31.
The President, having been flooded with over ten thousand comments and questions in just over one hour and over 24,000 comments and questions by the day’s end, unfortunately answered just 10 questions.
Surprisingly, the president received 5 years and 9 months of reddit gold, which costs $3.99 per month, or $29.99 for a full year. We’re curious to see if President Obama ever signs back onto his Reddit account in the future.
The team over at Reddit accompanied the President’s AMA with a three dimensional graph of the engagement with Reddit, plotted throughout the world, which you can check out here.
For Reddit’s staff, this was a learning experience and will hopefully enable the team to speed up the platform.