Anytime AMA on Riffiti

The rise of the “Ask Me Anything” might be one of the coolest aspects of our always-connected online culture, where people of diverse backgrounds proudly proclaim “IamA” and take on all interrogators. According to a well-researched article, Alexis Madrigal traces back the modern roots of the AMA to the early 2000s at site like Slashdot, Metafilter and SomethingAwful. But the “modern” AMA had reached its summit on Reddit. Madrigal links to Rob Walker’s 2013 Yahoo News article on how the Reddit AMA went mainstream, and this is essentially where the AMA is today. Until now.

The AMA format has evolved to the point where the subject posts the intial “I am A ____, AMA” on a website and people type questions in threads. This works as text-based chat in realtime and as an asynchrous interview transcript when archived. For the past decade, this format has worked well, but using the newRiffiti mobile short-form video app, we can now break these barriers and offer something more — a personalized video interview that doesn’t depend on the subject being available for say, an hour on Monday from 1:30–2:30 EST.

What is Riffiti?

Mobile short-form video platform Riffiti started as a kernel in founder Raj Karamchedu’s “What Shall I Do Next?” dreams. After 20 years working in Silicon Valley, he thought about becoming a teacher, maybe at an orphanage where he would be helping others, but he soon realized the inherent limitation in that learning model. He says:

“I was no longer interested in learning from just one person. I wanted to build a social learning platform to learn from multiple perspectives, with learning flowing from real people to real people.”

That simple solution to Raj’s personal problem evolved into a stimulating social learning platform for young people — Riffiti was born. The beauty of Riffiti is that it is based on 20-second videos, a short, personal, intimate format that makes sharing quick thoughts simple, but also encourages a subtle compositional limit. You can speak about 50 words in 20 seconds, but to make those 50 words count is the challenge.

Anytime AMA

Nathan tackles the “Anytime AMA”

With Riffiti’s Anytime AMA, questions are posed and answered at the convenience of the subject and the audience. There is no set schedule, no timer to run out, so the subject can answer as many or as few of the questions as she wants.

Here’s what it looks like in the app. I apologize for the static screenshots, but Medium’s video embed functionality is currently limited so I’ve provided links to Nathan’s Anytime AMA:

Screenshot of Carla asking a question.

Carla asks a question

Nathan answers

Nathan responds

Cool, Show Me How I Can Do This!

Download the free app and start talking to people from around the world.

iOS App Store

Google Play

Or, text RIFF to 970 00 from your phone and the correct link will sent.

To learn more, visit

Michael Brewster is a writer and has taught high school English for 14 years. As a member of the National Writing Project, his interests in instructional technology and how it can assist the compositional process have led him to a consulting role with Riffiti. He tweets @BrewCuse.