A few months ago my son was bugging me to check out Quora, which he claimed was the next big thing. The buzz had been that it was an “expert” question and answer site, so I took a look. It wasn’t totally clear who the experts were – looked like a standard Q&A site with better organization. Some answers were rated, apparently the higher, the better (nothing new there…) and you could spell out your qualifications as to why you felt you were an expert…though not many users had done that.
What was most intriguing was that you could create a new topic/category, manage or edit topics/categories or even write an FAQ for them. I assumed this would be a way to create “influence” in your field – brand yourself – get link juice. Nice.
Of course I looked at the CRE topics – not much there – but I signed on as a follower (how Twitter-like…) for those and some other topics and forgot about it for a few weeks. When I logged in next time, I noticed the Facebook and Twitter icons. Okay…so now a way to spread all this expert knowledge around… though still not much in my chosen topics.
The biggest shock was when I logged in a few weeks ago after it got really hot. Not only were there more questions and answers (not many of them very good in my categories at least…), but there was a lot of self/product promotion going on. Shortly after, a slew of articles came out questioning the longevity of Quora if it lost its “expert” appeal and what they were going to do about the influx of new users who were “diluting” the quality – especially those using Quora for marketing purposes.
Quora’s founders were formerly with Facebook. It’s just conjecture on my part, but I’m assuming they developed this as a more weighty alternative – sharing expert knowledge as opposed to the mundane. I think this is also a way to measure influence, one of those other “next big things” that everyone is data mining for these days. For Quora, it would be all in one place. They’ll be addressing the “dilution” issue with better ratings, more proof of “identity” and so on but is this anything more than a Twitter/Wiki/Q&A mash-up?
I suppose if you want to be known as an expert, have a real desire to help someone or you just like to write, it might be fun. Not so sure how this converts to business leads (if that’s what you’re looking for) or how it will turn out for the marketers who are saturating it now.
So….would you spend your time on this? Is this something you always felt you needed or can use? Let me know!