I’ve been playing around and watching Quora for a while now. It seems to be exploding in popularity and growing like crazy since it’s release to beta last year. So what’s the key difference between this and Yahoo answers, Facebook or the old Live QnA or Google answers then?
Well Quora allows you to ask a question and get answers back in almost real time. You can search for a question, follow the users who vote up questions, or follow topics or users that answer questions. It’s much more than a knowledge base as the responses to the questions are continually refining and improving the answer. Wikipedia appears to be totally static compared to Quora, with infighting between anyone who wants to edit the page and the original wiki authors. Quora appears to have valid technical responses from people who actually know the answer – who don’t speculate or create rumour, but have all of the details to respond to the question posted.
Like for example Steve Case, former CEO of AOL who responded to a question about how much it actually cost to distribute AOL CD’s in the 1990s with the former Chief Marketing Officer of AOL Jan Brandt adding to the comments. These are credible people who didn’t need to guess – but who actually had the answer..
Unlike a blog, when you think of something to say and people hopefully respond to your post on Twitter, Facebook or Linked?In (or on the blog itself) Quora gets its content in a different way. They call it reverse blogging – blogging as a response to a question. There’s a huge investment of time involved in blogging. Time spent researching, reading and crafting your post. You publish it – and you hope that someone will respond to you, validate your credibility and cement your presence online.
Answering a question on Quora does all of this in a flash. Your reputation increases, your profile gets known by others and you find like minded people to engage in discussions with.
Its proactive too, with alerts when someone answers a question you’re following, or follows you, or answers a question you pose. The links are clickable, so you can se who you are engaging with and whether they are worth following or not. With Search exposing your profile in Quora anwers, then your SEO results can only improve.
There’s a lot of work that needs to be done on the site design and usability yet but I think that Quora has the makings of a Twitter killer here. Milo says that Quora will be bigger than Twitter. I think in time, he’s going to be proved right…