Mar 14th 2018 by A_Marantz • 10 Questions • 36 Points
We’ve been making Endless Thread for about two months now, and we’ve covered everything on the show from near-death experiences, to the story of a vault that could save humanity, to overcoming heroin addiction, to unexpected love stories, to homelessness, to one of Reddit’s greatest mysteries. Listen to all of our episodes here: http://www.wbur.org/endlessthread
We are public radio producers who have worked in the past on the podcasts Modern Love and Codebreaker. Ben is the former host of the radio show Marketplace Tech, and Amory is the former director of the daily news program Radio Boston. Past interviews: Jay-Z, Run the Jewels, Stoya, Neil Degrasse Tyson, Neil Young, Astronaut Chris Hadfield Sarah Silverman, Herbie Hancock, John Cleese, Minnie Driver, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Issa Rae.
Favorite Subreddits: r/legaladvice, r/babyelephantgifs, r/oddlysatisfying, r/spiderbro, r/personalfinance, r/holdmybeer, r/cyberpunk, r/oldschoolcool, r/doge, r/powerwashingporn, r/askreddit. Goal: To tell some of your stories in beautiful, rich audio.
More about Ben: I have interviewed many of the members of the Wu-Tang Clan; My 8th grade obsession with Arthurian legend and the Middle Ages led to a Society or Creative Anachronism membership and a school project on megaliths that got me special access to Stonehenge; I lived in a yurt while I was attending high school; My favorite audio editing program is ProTools; My favorite radio trick is getting people to record themselves with an iPhone; My favorite board game is Talisman; My favorite TV shows are Peep Show, The Office, Fargo and GOT; I once ran out of money in Florence, Italy, and worked illegally for Albanians selling leather bags to tourists; I have never said no to an opportunity to go swimming; When I’m not making radio I am playing music, and the band I played with most recently, High Pony, just released its first album.
More about Amory: I have interviewed zero members of the Wu-Tang Clan, so I’m currently very jealous of Ben; I’m a Cleveland native (Believeland!); I’m the pitcher of WBUR’s intramural softball team; I can make balloon animals; I won’t let anything come between me and my TV when women’s gymnastics is on; I’ve been skydiving, but I quietly cried the entire morning of as I prepared to face my death; I will defeat anyone (ANYONE) at the card game Set; I’m a cyclist and a runner and will be running the Boston Marathon next month; I love faces in places and public typos; I’m in search of the world’s greatest vegan desserts; When not making radio, I’m making music. I’ll be releasing my fourth full-length album verrrrrry soon, but in the meantime, here’s the old stuff.
Ben: Dear fans. Goodbye. Thanks a lot for participating and asking us questions. We're on Reddit so you can hit us up anytime and please listen to Endless Thread it's a show we care about and are really excited to make. Thanks for having us.
Amory: I hope that more Redditors will give it a shot if you haven't listened to it already and we want you to be part of it so reach out.
I’m curious what you think the role of Twitter has been in the rise of trolling, the altright and the current state of our political discourse. When people talk about social media they often refer to FB but it seems like the culture and personalities of Twitter have a much larger impact that we might think. Someone like Cernovich for example appears to reach millions and millions of people on Twitter but less so on other platforms.
For Amory: Would you rather play a game of softball against a horse sized duck or 50 duck sized horses?
Clearly, racism and the art of pissing people off both predated the internet. That said, just as clearly, the internet has at the very least been an accelerant. Twitter and Facebook (and Reddit and Snap and everything else) all play different roles, but I actually quibble with your premise a bit: I often find that people talk about Twitter more than they should and Facebook less than they should. Maybe we're hearing from different "people," or maybe the current news cycle explains the discrepancy. Either way, both are hugely influential, but obviously Twitter is smaller and more targeted. Cernovich actually reaches millions of people on both of those platforms. Not on Medium, though, because they just kicked him off.
Horse sized duck obvs.
Great article. Thanks for writing it, and thanks for coming here to do an AMA!
How did you first encounter reddit?
Amory: I don't think I encountered it or really approached it in earnest until I knew that I was going to be working on this project.
Ben: She's a noob.
Amory: I'm a noob.
Ben: It's cool.
Amory: But I think there's value to that. Ben is very much not a noob and I think our audience is somewhere in that spectrum. People who have been with reddit from the beginning and people who are like me and are like "ahh I've heard of it but I don't know what to do there". and I believe in the storytelling that is on Reddit and I believe in the content that we're finding there but I'm actually, I don't mind waving my flag as the new Redditor on the project because I hope that we reach people like me, and you know when we're doing interviews now, we'll always ask people, whether we're talking to them or not, because they are on Reddit - are you a Redditor? What do you do on there? People tell me kind of apologetically almost like "no but I promise to get into it" and I'm like "no no no you don't have to" If you want to great, but I'm hoping we bring something to you from Reddit that you find value in without having to be a long time Redditor like Ben is.
Ben: I think for me I was working at Slate at the time and a part of my job was, I mean this is sort of a bad word in the media industry, but like news aggregation. I was trying to find what was popping up or becoming the most popular stories of the day and then serving them up to Slate readers, doing re-writes, always with attribution for the company that did the reporting but basically kind of serving some of this stuff up to Slate readers, and there was a story that I think is now sort of famous on Reddit for, I think it was about a bus monitor, a woman in upstate New York and I'm forgetting the name right now but she, essentially someone posted a video that was on Youtube originally I think and then got re-posted to Reddit and went crazy viral and basically some of the kids on the bus were being really mean to this bus monitor and Redditors came together and raised, I dont think patreon was around yet, but Redditors basically said like "let’s take this woman on vacation, lets give this woman some money" and I think they raised like 700,000 dollars and she was able to retire, and that was I think that to me was, maybe not the first time I encountered Reddit but was the first time I was like "wow! this is a really powerful thing" that this sort of thing could happen in a community online. And I think generally speaking it was a very positive thing and it ended up- it was something negative and it got turned into a positive and I thought that was really powerful and that was the first time I understood Reddit at a certain level.