When done right, an AMA (ask me anything) at Reddit is a great way to connect with fans without the interference of commercial breaks and publicists. We’ve already highlighted the awesomeness of the AMAs from Louis CK and Jeff Matsuda, — the AMAs from Bear Grylls and Giancarlo Esposito were also great. When done incorrectly, however, a Reddit AMA can go pear-shaped in a hurry. Just such thing happened over the weekend when Woody Harrelson (or his publicist) completely misunderstood what an AMA is supposed to be.
Yes, Harrelson inspired Reddit fury when he answered almost no questions, relentlessly plugged his current movie, disappeared after 15 minutes, and responded to a question with, “Lets focus on the film people.” He gave only 15 short, repetitive responses which were clearly written by a PR rep and lack all the personality and authenticity you can find in a successful AMA like the ones mentioned above. You can read all of the replies from his account here, or just glance at the gallery below. Feel free to take a drink at every mention of “immersion,” “a strong bond,” the movie Rampart, or Oren Moverman, the director of the movie Rampart. Did you hear about Rampart? He’s in Rampart. It’s a movie.
Note to future AMA givers: don’t try to use a Reddit AMA to post only 15 short blurbs from your publicist about the movie you’re currently promoting along with a few vague, PR-sterilized mentions of your family and dietary habits. Redditors hate that. A lot. How much? Well, the word “rampart” has now been submitted to Urban Dictionary as a euphemism for something which will make more sense after looking at the following pictures:
This is the question to which he (or his publicist) replied, “First of off, its not true, and second off, I don’t want to answer questions about that. Lets focus on the film people.” Denying the rumor instead of ignoring it is fine. Denying and deflecting with humor would have been better. But bossing around Redditors in an AMA by saying something as bitchy as, “Lets focus on the film people” is a guaranteed Reddit rage invocation. This was the inevitable Urban Dictionary submission made in response:
As you can see by the karma scores (the points) next to each of his only 15 comments, Redditors didn’t take well to an AMA being used like a press release for a specific film, as every comment was downvoted into the negative triple digit territory. One comment received over 1200 more downvotes than upvotes:
For future reference, don’t let your publicist give a Reddit AMA then only respond with 15 short PR-centric responses, one of them telling everyone you’re too busy to take their questions. Wow. Just wow.