A few thoughts on a new Q&A platform…

Yesterday I signed up to the new web phenomena Quora (name reminds me a lot of the protein substitute Quorn). I have a terrible habit of signing up to things I know nothing about if they’re mentioned on Twitter. And listening to the babble about the site it goes to prove that social networking sites encourage people to be part of the crowd. We love to follow trending topics, and we all want to be part of the club when something new is launched. So anyways onto Quora.

Aliens on my front lawn!

I’ve got to confess I love question and answer platforms. I’m really pleased that we’ll be integrating one into the site I’m working on currently, though whether we’ll get any real response I’m not sure. I’ve been an avid follower of the Yahoo Q&A pages for a year or so and also Girls Guide To. They’ve got an air of ‘agony-auntishness’ (which isn’t really a word but I like it). Of course they’re well known to spew forth utter tosh. People post complaints about imaginary girl/boyfriends, discuss problems that only a doctor should hear about and raise the heckles of people who are silly enough to believe that trolls are people with genuine problems. However it seems that Quora has pretty much overcome this problem.

When you sign up to Quora you’re given the option to follow particular topics (which I believe they suggest depending on what information’s available from your Twitter account). So to start with you’re Q&A platform has been reduced in size, and a micro-community has been created. You can then follow individuals you know from Facebook and Twitter and see what they talk about. I thought this was fantastic as it allowed me to see the likes of Rory Cellan-Jones and Pete Cashmore answering questions. Everyone’s obviously into it. And because it’s a smaller community there seems to be less spam. People are adding questions that are relevant to me, and that I also want to answer. Plus when I asked a question I even got a few responses.

As for the business side, I think like Linkedin Quora could be useful for getting opinions on business ideas, finding statistics and looking for PR/social media and copywriting companies to work with who are on the ball and up-to-date (if they’re using the latest tools I would assume they are). It could also be a useful tool for companies to find new workers and contacts. If you’re a social media manager out of work, it allows you to prove your understanding of the subject area, plus you can publish your Qs and As to your Twitter/Facebook accounts too.

I think Quora is a useful option for social media fanatics but I don’t know how good it is in other niche areas. I’m also incredibly dubious about the long-term success of any Q&A site once momentum has dropped. Will anyone visit Quora once the hype has died down, unless they need to ask something for themselves? But it’s incredibly addictive and for now I appreciate the opportunity to have intelligent conversations with others interested in social media. Really recommend you try it.

5 things I like about Quora

  1. I’m not bombarded with questions from millions of different users.
  2. I get to hear the opinions of people I’m already following.
  3. There’s no trolling!
  4. It looks familiar (a cross between Linkedin and Facebook).
  5. It allows me to ‘follow’ topics and questions that interest me.

_________________________________________________________________________

Are you using Quora? What do you think about it? Answers below.

6 responses »

  1. Jonny Grum says:

    Really interesting – came to a very similar conclusion after trying it out too.

    Think there’s definitely a purpose for some tuned-in organisations to use it in order to reach out and answer questions their potential fanbase/customers are asking.

    • charlotteelizabethclark says:

      Definitely. I think it’s good for businesses to have a handle on all the forums/Q&A sites they can though it’s an area that seems neglected quite often because it’s so large and scary. But, I assume that Quora questions can be found on Google as there’s an opt out in settings. Hopefully references to companies and products will be picked up by social monitoring tools, so brands will have an opportunity to engage. Might be worth seeing what those in charge of social monitoring tools think about it.

      Glad you enjoyed the post Jonny, stay in touch 🙂

  2. Nick Chinn says:

    is it ok if i just respond to your blog to add another alien????

    I think that I am going to sit on the Quora fence; it will be interesting to see if a trending twitter topic delivers longevity in anything at all…. i’m thinking maybe not??? But don’t quote me, yet!

    I thouhg it was a new soft drink when i first heard about it, who’s old enough to remember “I’ll be your dog” Kia Ora ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5LvLn9PWln8 )

    • charlotteelizabethclark says:

      Definitely! I almost wish I had no face, weird as that sounds.

      Kia Ora was delish! Either way this new platform’s definitely a foodstuff.

      And I think it’s wise to sit on the fence, buzz tells us nothing. These days I find it hard to find original content when the same few blogs are RT’d constantly.

      Thanks for commenting Nick!

  3. Elle says:

    I’m not sure I’m convinced Quora has the lasting power as fun and addictive as it is now; I reckon it will probably fizzle out (then again, I’m the girl who said in early 2008 that I didn’t see the point of Twitter and look how I use it now!). My thoughts on whether Quora is necessary are here: http://t.co/e5Pqfyi 🙂

    • charlotteelizabethclark says:

      Loving the case study Elle. I agree that it could fizzle out, though apps that use FB connect tend to last a little longer. We shall see! 🙂

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