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Quora…Quora! – Read All About It!

by James Ball on January 13, 2011

From the Quora website – Quora is a continually improving collection of questions and answers created, edited, and organized by everyone who uses it. The most important thing is to have each question page become the best possible resource for someone who wants to know about the question.

I really liked this succinct review:

With a growth chart that looks like this:


Is it any wonder that we’re hearing so much about Quora? The site was founded in June of 2009 and launched in private beta in December of 2009. Quora was only made available to the public on June 21, 2010.(Source: Wikipedia) That’s quite new by any standards, and yet here we are talking about it out of the need to do so; people can’t escape the conversation and hype that surround Quora, and we all want to know more about it!

Chart pulled from Quora via Albert Sheu

I’m there, lurking around, but this is like a natural habitat for me. As the techy and bloggy sort that I am, I’m having fun with the site. Of the 500,000 or so users thus far, you’ll find that the majority are from the early adopter and/or tech crowd…with a sprinkling of the social media and marketing minded thrown in for good measure.  

As someone involved in a small business, I don’t think that I’ll be utilizing it to find info or insight about running my business just yet. There are some topics, in name anyway, that do seem helpful to one who’s running or growing a business.

**Update as I write: I’ve just used the “invite” feature. When you invite someone you can suggest topics for them that they might find interesting. Since I know these people, I searched for matching interests. I was very impressed how many topics there are as of today. It really is getting more diverse!

I did find some helpful info for small business folks here: How Small Businesses Can Use Quora

Let me be clear about something here, even though Quora has enjoyed some pretty massive growth lately, this in no way means that it is universally useful to the masses. Not in my opinion, not yet.  This is not to say that you shouldn’t go ahead and get set up on Quora, you should. By all means, get in, learn your way around, and check in on it as time permits. I do think that in time, Quora will become a treasure trove of information and data for searchers from all walks of life. By keeping your toe in the water on Quora, I have every confidence that you will be able to discern its value to you and your business.

I actually liked this piece of advice. I found it just as I was getting started:

 “Yes. I know. You read something about how Quora is the “next Twitter”. You saw some early adopter posting links to their answers here. You got an invite from a friend who has been here for awhile. So you signed up and followed a bunch of people you know from Facebook and a bunch of subjects that it suggested to you and you jumped right in and started answering questions!

Stop it.

Take 30 minutes and figure out what the ecosystem here is like. Don’t just assume that you’ll figure it out as you go along. This isn’t a free-for-all where you try to prove how smart and informed you are! It isn’t a social network either, despite the fact that you’ll have part of your social graph here.” – On Quora from Lucretia M. Pruitt  (click through for the entire post)

By clicking through some of the resources linked to below, you’ll quickly learn about what Quora does and doesn’t do. You will also discover more about the features and user interface. I think that after only a few clicks, you will be able to decide if Quora is right and/or a right now for you.

In researching Quora I found that there is almost too much information available. Much of what’s been written and explored are near verbatim duplicates of one another. I have attempted to filter through much of what I found for the list below. I’m certainly no authority, so from the infinitely more qualified and expert opinions I offer these:

 Are you on Quora and have some insight, guidance, or an opinion to share? Please let us hear from you in the comments today!

*Hat tip to Becky McCray, Liz Strauss, and Miss Dazey for prompting me to write this post. I know you ladies said “short” blog post; forgive my leaning towards a more winded-yet-informative aggregation of awesome. In my defense, I am snowed in…and have survived for days on nothing but Coca-Cola, cinnamon rolls, and Pandora (~winks)

Todd Schnick January 13, 2011 at 10:21 am

thanks for this summation james. i just joined quora the other day, and have already found value in getting some answers to questions i've had.

next, discovering the marketing utility of "answering" questions. i wonder if that will drive traffic to other social web foundations….

James Ball January 13, 2011 at 10:57 am

Thanks for the comment Todd! I love all of the answers…that's where I spend most of my time on Quora. I've only answered a few questions…and have only truly found out how smart I'm not – so far. As people and "marketers" drill down into Quora and it becomes a slightly different animal, I bet that a wider variety of niche topics and authorities on Quora will rise to a respectable level. I think that by being an active user, answerer, or editor on Quora so far only yields credibility and authority for the user. As content becomes more plentiful and refined by the processes in place already, I really feel that questions and answers (read: information) on Quora can only become more valuable to a much larger user base.

The fact that Quora is connected to social in the way that it already is, and that Google loves it, along with the way I see many using it as a back-and-forth already, make it a pretty good marketing utility already.

Chad January 13, 2011 at 11:48 am

I agree with you James. I find out more and more of how much I don't know every time I get on Quora. It looks like a great tool for knowledge, social networking and marketing. Great, informative post. Thanks.

James Ball January 13, 2011 at 12:14 pm

I appreciate you taking the time to comment today Chad. I'm glad that you are enjoying Quora in much the same way that I am. The answers from high level individuals…to some difficult questions has both entertained and educated me about things that are important to me individually.

Like Todd, I'm having some difficulty wrapping my head around the value to be gained by an individual or businesses in the *answering* of questions. I do see the value in linking to or pulling from Quora Q & A’s for updates on social channels and blog posts as a conduit of sorts – in order to launch conversations. I think that Quora is already a very valuable information resource for the types of topics that have been widely discussed there. It just needs more time before I would seek it out for knitting, cooking, or toilet repair advice.

@JonathanSaar January 13, 2011 at 7:49 pm

I love the depth of research you do James. Thanks for the post and the history. I have yet to jump on board with this tool yet, but I am sure it will happen. I will carefully observe others and see how it benefits them. Nice article and thank you again.

jyarmis January 15, 2011 at 12:54 pm

I think Quora has the potential to be "the next big thing." By FAR bigger than Foursquare, which I think is forever niche and actually gets co-opted by other broader platforms. Bigger even than Twitter which, for all its considerable appeal, is not something, for instance, I'd recommend to my mother. Really big.

Here are my detailed thoughts on the matter.:

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