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Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian visits UNC

	Cofounder of Reddit Alexis Ohanian speaks at UNC’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication Monday night about the Internet as an enabler.

Cofounder of Reddit Alexis Ohanian speaks at UNC’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication Monday night about the Internet as an enabler.

The world might not be flat, but the co-founder of Reddit says the World Wide Web is.

Monday night, Alexis Ohanian spoke about the absence of boundaries on the internet as a key enabler for anyone seeking to make a difference.

“The thing that excites me is the internet enabling people, hopefully all of you, to reach your maximum potential for awesome,” said Ohanian, who graduated from the University of Virginia in 2005.

Reddit is a social news website that allows users to post articles which are then voted “up” or “down,” and repositioned higher or lower on the site accordingly. It recorded more than 150 million page views in October.

Ohanian, who will speak at 75 universities in the U.S. and Canada before his tour ends in March, is promoting his new book “Without Their Permission: How the 21st Century Will Be Made, Not Managed.”

While his book is the catalyst for the tour, it presents a perfect excuse to talk at universities and inspire students to take the leap and put their ideas into action, Ohanian said.

“Every one of us has amazing ideas,” he said. “And the difference between those of us who just have those ideas and those who actually do them and change the world are the ones willing to put their hands up and do something a little weird and a little random and unrehearsed.”

Ohanian, who was named twice to Forbes’ list of 30 under 30 up-and-coming entrepreneurs, utilized memes, video game jokes and a handful of expletives as he told his entrepreneurial story, which began after he decided law wasn’t for him late one night at a Waffle House.

There are plenty of incredible people in the world, but without the internet their stories would go unnoticed, Ohanian said.

As the first internet generation, Millennials will be a force to be reckoned with, Ohanian said, especially if they continue to embrace coding.

“Those of you who can actually write the code, those of you who can actually build those platforms, are building the new frontier under our feet and that is amazingly powerful,” Ohanian said.

The 400 free tickets available for Ohanian’s speech at Carroll Hall were claimed in four hours, with an additional 200 joining the waitlist, said Daniel Kreiss, a journalism professor.

In a testament to Ohanian’s words, the event was scheduled in less than a day, though promotion of the event was a multi-week effort, thanks to Reddit and the internet.

About three months ago, Michael Hardison, a senior journalism and mass communication and political science double major, was informed by a friend that Ohanian wrote of his interest in speaking at UNC on a Reddit conversation thread dedicated to discussion about the University.

He quickly tweeted at and e-mailed Ohanian before putting Kreiss and John Clark, executive producer of the Reese Felts Digital News Project, in contact with him.

“Within a day, they had the date booked,” Hardison said. “It was insane, it was very cool.”

university@dailytarheel.com

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