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What does "AMA" mean and how do you use it?



  A photo of the Reddit app overlaid with the acronym AMA.
BigTunaOnline / Shutterstock

The term “AMA” is a staple from Reddit and has spread to the remotest corners of the Internet. But what does AMA mean, who came up with the word and how do you use it?

ask me whatever

AMA is an abbreviation for "ask me whatever". It is used by people who open up any kind of question, especially personal questions. And while AMA can be used anywhere on the Internet, it's usually used in the Reddit AMA forum (which is more open to strangers than a Facebook or Twitter thread).

Reddit's AMA forum follows a very simple format. People start a thread with a personal detail about their life, and others ask questions related to that detail. One thread starts with "I am an Amazon delivery driver, AMA", while another begins with "I am a former FBI agent, AMA". (In this way, the AMA forum is like an interactive version of Oprah or Ellens talk shows.)

Of course, the biggest AMA threads are started by celebrities. Who doesn't want to ask their favorite star a question? These threads are very well known and are usually started with the support of new shows or films. You'll also need proof of identity (photos, videos, or AMA-related posts on official Twitter and Facebook accounts) so fans don't have to worry if they're blinded.

(Incidentally, Reddit's AMA forum is called / r / IAmA, because the AMA format begins with "I am a …" and ends with "Ask me something". If you had known that "AMA" is the forum would probably have defined it as / r / AMA.)

AMA was created on Reddit, but the idea is nothing new

In 2008 or 2009, Reddit employees found that their website could bridge the gap between celebrities and ordinary people. They started to host prominent questions and answers that were very video intensive and carried a detached “We Just Got a Letter” style. Text-based questions and answers might be wrong, but videos weren't lying (at least not in 2009). Finally, Reddit employees set up the / IAmA forum for questions and answers. They posted videos for live interactions, but stuck to the idea of ​​checking celebrity identity, which explains why the format was so successful.

From this point of view, the AMA format is pretty clear that it is nothing new. It evolved from the Q&A format of magazines and newspapers and could even be compared to talk shows, radio calls, Star Trek fan panels and other forms of fan-to-celebrity communication, a special development in this type of communication. The questions and answers of the past few years have been conveyed by journalists or radio presenters, while Reddit AMAs have no immediate results. You can also ask questions to everyone who lives an interesting life, not just rich celebrities and cheesy politicians.

(Incidentally, The Atlantic has an astonishing overview of the history of / r / IAmA. If you are interested in the early internet you should definitely read this article.)

RELATED: What is Reddit karma and how do i get it?

How do I use AMA?

  A man stares at his laptop and wonders how to start an AMA over his additional navel.
fizkes / Shutterstock

The AMA forum is quite easy to use. Anyone can read posts on Reddit without having an account. Searching AMA threads for interesting information is not a problem. If you want to ask questions, create and create a Reddit account. Your questions may go unanswered (even if they are good questions), but this is only part of the experience.

Do you want to start your own AMA thread? It's easy, make sure you follow the AMA format and have evidence to support your claims. A thread like "There's a nail in my skull, AMA" is interesting, but you can't post it without an X-ray or other type of evidence. (See the / r / IAmA FAQs for the most important instructions.)

If you want to use AMA outside of Reddit, you just need to know that this is a direct abbreviation for "Ask me anything". You can start a Facebook or Twitter thread in Use the AMA format or the abbreviation "AMA" in everyday conversations – "Do you need help with your computer? Feel free for AMA! "

The term" AMA "does not always refer to Reddit or even formal AMA threads. For example, you might jokingly say," I just ate a whole pizza, AMA "in a chat room or on social media Or you could make a sarcastic remark: "I'm getting rich now that my few cents of Equifax settlement money have been received, AMA."


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