With 600 million visitors a month, Reddit touts itself as the 'Front page of the Internet'
ASK ME ANYTHING!
What do an astronaut, a World War II bomber pilot, a gongfu action star, a Grammy Award-nominated musician and a cyber security expert have in common?
The answer is that they have all appeared in Reddit's IAmA (Ask Me Anything) subreddit this past week.
Reddit, which has about 600 million visitors a month, touts itself as the "Front page of the Internet".
Anyone can sign up and subscribe to the myriad of online community groups. These "subreddits" run the gamut from normal subjects, such as politics, art and video games, to stranger stuff like a group dedicated to posting altered images of birds with arms, and another preoccupied with things people think about while taking a shower.
IAmA is one of the more popular groups. It allows personalities to interact with their fans in a seemingly straightforward, open manner.
While not every question thrown up by users is answered, fans would typically gain insights into the personality if the crowd-sourced interview is conducted well.
Luminaries in the past include US President Barack Obama, Microsoft founder Bill Gates and renowned naturalist David Attenborough.
The spotlight shone on a different cohort of notable people last week.
Nasa astronaut Scott Kelly was asked why he always had his arms folded in photographs.
"Your arms don't hang by your side in space like they do on Earth because there is no gravity," he replied. "I don't even have them floating in my sleep, I put them in my sleeping bag."
In another thread, someone asked multi-instrumentalist Yanni what sort of music made him angry. "Nothing. Music is the expression of someone's soul. It could never be wrong," he replied.
And Hong Kong actor Donnie Yen, when asked how he felt being part of the Star Wars franchise, joked that his kids have finally acknowledged him as a "cool dad".
KANYE WEST & WIZ KHALIFA: The two rappers had a huge squabble on Twitter over the name of West's upcoming album, Waves. Khalifa reminded his followers that a different rapper, Max B, had "created the wave".
Many of the Tweets have since been deleted, but not before some enterprising individuals capitalised on its virality. One netizen created a website to sell merchandise such as T-shirts. English actor David Schneider comically read out the Tweets as a Shakespearean actor.
#GROWINGUPWITHMYNAME: This hashtag, which first emerged last year, made a return as Twitter users with unusual names shared their experiences of embarrassment growing up. "Do I even need to say...," said user James Manlove.
YISHUN: The town was trending online as yet another dead cat - the 21st since last September - was found.
But not all IAmAs end well.
Actor Woody Harrelson's thread, for instance, was severely criticised when it took place several years ago.
Instead of answering questions pertaining to his life, the actor chose to direct all questions to his then upcoming movie, Rampart.
He was also accused of letting his public relations team handle the questions rather than answering them on his own.
As one user aptly said: "Reddit isn't a good venue to pitch your movie, it's a venue to pitch yourself."
TOP GOOGLE VIDEOS
People doing stuff in cars seems to be the flavour of the week among YouTube fans, going by the results provided by tech giant Google.
The first video features English songbird Adele singing and rapping with television host James Corden as they drive around London.
The 15-minute clip has garnered a whopping 59 million views since it was put up earlier this month, reportedly smashing the previous record set by Canadian pop star Justin Bieber.
Another video that trended locally was one with an important message: that motorists should not text and drive.
Not only is this a dangerous habit obviously hazardous to yourself, it also doesn't bode well for the people sharing the road with you.
Plus there's a chance your message would be mangled and get sent to the wrong person.
To bring home this point, local YouTube film makers Night Owl Cinematics recently produced a nine-minute clip of a "Don't text and drive" challenge.
The premise is simple: The driver and a passenger have to work together to send a verbose text message across while navigating an obstacle course.
Suffice it to say, none of the teams did it well.
The business of saving lives is always at the front and centre of the hardworking men and women in the Singapore Civil Defence Force.
Last Tuesday, after pulling a 24-hour shift, eight off-duty firefighters went to a food court at Causeway Point to have breakfast.
While there, they spotted excessive smoke emitting from one of the stalls and immediately sprang into action.
The men put out the flames with a nearby fire extinguisher and hose reel, and also evacuated members of the public to safety.
"Due to their quick thinking, the damage was confined to the kitchen stove and no one was injured," said the SCDF in a Facebook post which attracted more than 33,000 likes.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on January 31, 2016, with the headline 'What'sTrending Celebrities engage with Redditors'. Print Edition | Subscribe
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