Reddit Co-Founder Wants ‘More Nerds in Office’

Reddit Co-founder Alexis Ohanion protesting SOPA and PIPA in 2012.

Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanion believes more tech-savvy staffers on the Hill has contributed to Congress backing away from laws curbing Internet freedom.

Washington is known for its wonks and hired geeks, but “more nerds in office” would bring more tech savvy to Capitol Hill, says Alexis Ohanion, co-founder of social news website Reddit.

Startup investor and Internet freedom advocate Ohanion visited the nation’s capital on Tuesday as part of a tour to promote his book “Without Their Permission,” about the risks and false starts he faced starting Reddit. The website has 80 million unique users per month and is known as “the front page of the Internet” for its news feed about world events but also crazy cat photos.

Innovator Ohanion mixed and signed books on Tuesday with Hill staffers, local tech startups and other fans of the Internet at Sonoma restaurant on Capitol Hill, the Eighteenth Street Lounge in Dupont Circle and at George Washington University. Ohanion and his entourage drove around in a decked-out bus that read “harnessing the power of the Internet to make the world suck less.” Following the event at George Washington University his team fired t-shirts into the crowd.

[READ: Apple Report Condemns Security Gag Order]

As a graduate of the University of Virginia and a season ticket holder of the Washington Redskins, Ohanion says he visits the D.C. area often, and has noticed Capitol Hill take “baby steps” on progressive tech policy since he advocated for Internet freedom in 2012 against the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect IP Act. The bills would have raised copyright restrictions to such a level that activists including Ohanion and companies including Google said the bills would have restricted free speech online. Public outcry pressured Congress to abandon the bills, which are also known as SOPA and PIPA.

Ohanion says he is optimistic that Congress is becoming more open-minded about how laws can pose a threat to the economic potential of the Internet.

“What is encouraging me the most is there are more and more staffers who are down, who get it,” Ohanion says. “It’s still not as big an agenda item for many of our elected officials.”

Ohanion says he agrees with something told to him during the Internet freedom and copyright fight in 2012 by Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, that “more nerds in office is what it’s going to take,” to increase understanding about how laws can affect the Internet.

The entertainment industry lobbied heavily to help create the copyright enforcement proposals of SOPA and PIPA, which offers an opportunity to the Republican Party to champion copyright rules that would encourage innovation and increase access to content, Ohanion says.

[READ: AOL May Sell Patch or Deepen Cuts]

“It’s something unfortunately a lot of the Left is not going to touch because of the lobbying money,” Ohanion says. “Not a lot of Hollywood lobbyists are knocking on the doors of the GOP.”

For Republicans to win more campaigns, Ohanion says the GOP should do more of its social media and online outreach in-house, as opposed to the outsourcing done by the 2012 presidential campaign of Mitt Romney.

“Speaking as a technologist, if I believe that technology is going to be a big part of my business or campaign I want to keep that expertise in house,” Ohanion says. “If you get anybody else to do it they are not going to care about it as much.”

More News:

U.S. News – News

About the Author

has written 54666 posts on this blog.

Write a Comment

Gravatars are small images that can show your personality. You can get your gravatar for free today!

Copyright © 2018 News Chit Chat. All rights reserved.
Proudly powered by WordPress. Developed by News Chit Chat