Hi, Rachel here!
We’ve spent a lot of time over the past few weeks talking about new platforms. This week’s find has been intriguing, inspiring and educating its users since 2011. This is Quora, and it is set to be bigger than Twitter.
Quora is a question and answer platform, with a system of upvoting (much like Yahoo! Answers or Reddit). It has a sleek, approachable design, which marks it from the forum style of other query based applications. Until now, you would use similar platforms if you wanted to get strangers opinions posed as fact about your latest symptoms, or to discuss a particularly pedantic grammar quibble (I’m looking at you, Wikipedia).
Quora’s main pull is its quick benefit turnaround. From signing up to getting started, you feel a sense of excitement that comes with all new shiny platforms. But there is less of the waiting around for your feed or followers to tot up before you actually get anything out of the space.On demand answers, all written with an almost jarring honesty and clarity, from a plethora of experts, entrepreneurs, investors, and academics form the majority of the content available to Quora users. You can sign up via Google + or Facebook, or create an account independently.
In an article on the 28th September, Forbes called it one of the top ranked organic sites for “long tail queries”, and you can see why.Responses are helpful, personable, and altruistic in nature. Quora is about connecting people in a way that other platforms appear to have forgotten in the war of clicks and monetization. That said, it does appear to be business focused – want insider knowledge on an industry? Feel the urge to grill a CEO on best practice? Quora is the place to do so.
One benefit for businesses and entrepreneurs is the exposure to journalists. It is true that the nature of social media means that you can always find journalists, but getting them to find you among the sea of competing businesses is a much harder task on say Twitter or Facebook.
It’s certainly bucking the trend of automation heavy social media – even if accounts are managed by a team, they are honest and clear. What will be an interesting development to watch about Quora is how it manages its own balance between objective and subjective lines of questioning. It aims to tap into the latent knowledge present in the hive mind that still has yet to make its way to the web. If we take Yahoo! Answers as an example, then maybe it’s only a matter of time before the whole thing descends into vague quack doctor-esque testimonials and dubious advice. Quora’s famous users include Ashton Kutcher and Twitter Co founder Evan Williams. The no holds barred approach to corporate transparency seems to be lighting the way for Q&A interactions online.