by Brian Kahn, via Yale Climate Media Forum
What do astrophyscist Neil Degrasse Tyson, Congressman Daryl Issa (R-Calif.), and fomer Man Vs. Wild host Bear Grylls have in common?
They’ve all let strangers ask them anything on Reddit, a social news website. Climate scientist Tony Barnston of Columbia University’s International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI) also recently tested the “Ask Me Anything” waters and found them to his liking.
The experience turned out to be enlightening not only for the Reddit community, but also for Barnston, who discovered a new opportunity to talk shop about climate in an informal setting. His experience may provide lessons for other climate scientists looking to engage the public about their work.
What exactly is Reddit?
Reddit has been referred to as “an Internet firehose” because of the massive amount of information that regularly moves through the site. Users generate all of that information, as they do on Facebook and Twitter, but there are some big differences. For one, most users are anonymous. For another, rather than following specific users — though they can do that — most users manage that firehose of information through “subreddits,” in effect communities where users ...