Reddit should be the perfect place for Trump: It’s swarming with the alt-right trolls who make up his online base.
Trump’s AMA might go down as the biggest in the site’s history, surpassing the one that Barack Obama did shortly before he was re-elected in 2012, by sheer number of comments. But it won’t go down as one of its best, or even one of its most interesting.
One of the reasons Trump’s AMA was so highly anticipated—with either excitement or horror—is his penchant for making news in off-the-cuff, improvisational situations: rallies, speeches, tweets, and, as we saw with his pro-Russian cyber invasion comments this morning, press conferences. In these moments, Trump is often the opposite of what you would normally expect from a normal politician—he’s quick, he’s vulgar, and he seems to relish the opportunity to make a splash.
But during Trump’s AMA he just sounded like a regular old politician. He barely answered any questions, for one thing—he answered only eight in the AMA’s first hour—and his answers were dull and repetitive. They sounded like Trump’s tweets do when staffers control his account, but somehow even more stilted.
One explanation for Trump’s low energy AMA is that, despite his love for his smartphone, he does not seem to be much of a computer user—he doesn’t even have one in his office. According to a Gizmodo investigation earlier this year, he has said publicly that he rarely uses email and does not text; he also has articles from the internet printed out for him. The one photo of Trump using a smartphone gives an impression that he does not really know how to use it. The night of a Reddit AMA is not a good night to learn how to use a computer, so it’s possible that he’s not really the one in control—the evidence certainly suggests he’s getting help.
The prevailing wisdom was that Trump was doing the AMA as a way of distracting media attention from the DNC. But there’s nothing notable about Trump’s AMA—instead it’s a total snooze.