To be honest, Quora isn’t built on any rocket science principles. Instead, it works on the fundamental human psyche of seeking answers to questions. It has been around for a while now but failed to live up to its pre-launch media attention last year largely because there was little explanation about what you were really supposed to do on Quora and without all of your friends there contributing, the social factor wasn’t obvious.
However, as the need for “intelligent conversations” grows in the social media world, I strongly believe that tools such as Quora could be the next big thing shaping the future of our online presence.
What is Quora?
Quora defines itself as 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.”
The most vital aspect of a question-answer network is knowledge. And it’s not just the scale and quality of content; it’s also about the reusability, collaboration and continuous improvement of data.
In layman terms, Quora can be viewed as an amalgamation of Twitter’s followers and Facebook news feeds with the difference being that it provides the ability to follow questions, topics and conversations. Add to that a highly effective SEO module and the Digg-like recommendation capabilities, and you have the mighty Quora!
What Quora is not?
I’m amazed at the mindless comparisons people come up with. To compare Quora with Facebook or Twitter is like comparing apples and oranges. While I view Facebook largely as a people-oriented social network and Twitter as a short concise text-oriented network, Quora is all about knowledge sharing.
IMO, Quora is aimed at solving the fundamental issue of transferring the information from people’s heads to a common place on the internet. The key operating principle is simple – consolidate the elements that have existed elsewhere for some time and put them together in a potentially useful way.
Why Am I excited about Quora?
I strongly believe that content is king and knowledge is power and Quora is a social network that thrives on knowledge. Quora isn’t the first attempt at building the first ever knowledge-based social network and it’s certainly not the last either. Yahoo Answers has been around for a long time but it failed miserably due to spam and racist messages. Wikipedia is perhaps the largest database of information available on the internet but it’s not organized in a question-answer format and doesn’t have a community/ social aspect to it.
Quora combines the best of both worlds – personal blogging as well as problem solving social networks. It represents an innovative approach towards building a social network and offers common ground for intellectuals and knowledge-driven individuals (like me!). From a business perspective, it provides good exposure to be renowned as subject matter experts for select products/ industries.
Quora’s popularity has gone through the roof in the last few months and I’d expect it to further step up the ante in year 2011. I’ve seen more and more Quora pages appear in Google’s search results over the last few months and I believe it offers a fantastic opportunity for businesses to get a high Google Page Rank as well.
All in all, Quora seems to be a fascinating new prospect in the social media world. Does Quora form a part of your social media strategy for 2011? Please share your opinion by leaving a comment below this post.