Is Quora the Next Big Thing in social networking?

3 Jan

Take your favourite social networking sites, chuck them in a high-speed blender and hit Liquify. You might end up with something like Quora when the spinning stops.

It has bloggers and early adopters raving breathlessly about it.

So what’s the big deal? How is it different?

In essence, Quora is a Q&A platform with real-time participation. You can ask a question – or answer one – and watch replies, votes, endorsements roll in. The replies then get commented on too, beginning a tangential process that can take you to some fascinating places.

Here’s an example: a sensible question about Mashable’s Pete Cashmore that even the subject bothered to weigh in on.

Unlike Yahoo Answers, which is the closest thing on the web I can think of, Quora doesn’t attract all the spam and racist diatribes that turn these forums into insult-hurling shit fights.

Instead you really do get great, informed answers. A small question can lead to enlightening conversations with many notable contributors.

The site’s popularity went through the roof in the last few months of 2010, as you can see in the graph.

 

So the question now is, if Quora is going to be the next big thing, how long before the trolls arrive to ruin it?

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10 Responses to “Is Quora the Next Big Thing in social networking?”

  1. Renee January 3, 2011 at 11:02 am #

    I’ll check this out! Thanks for sharing about it. If it’s on your radar, it’s worth looking at, as far as I’m concerned!

  2. Dale Baglo January 3, 2011 at 11:19 am #

    I like it! Thanks for sharing.

    -dB (new Quora member)

  3. dougbrowncreative January 3, 2011 at 11:25 am #

    Hey Renee and Dale – I will catch up with you guys over in Quora. Thanks for letting me know you digg it.

  4. Brad January 3, 2011 at 12:14 pm #

    This looks pretty interesting, I will definitely check it out. Hopefully it continues to be a level above Yahoo Answers because, like you said, things often get pretty ugly over there.

  5. dougbrowncreative January 3, 2011 at 12:23 pm #

    Things ALWAYS get ugly on Yahoo Brad. I can’t figure out why people have to be so pugnacious in that environment. Every conversation dissolves into a racist brawl.

  6. Amy J January 3, 2011 at 12:29 pm #

    That sounds really interesting. I think I’ll help keep their popularity spike going.

    Hey! On another topic… Groupon… I was in Seattle and witnessed my first ever Groupon coupon induced frenzy. Seattle’s Nordstrom Rack had a lineup to pay that was at least 5 times longer than anything I’ve ever witnessed in the 15 years I’ve been shopping there. I asked, “What the heck is going on?” and they replied, “it’s the last day of our buy $25 with Groupon and redeem it for $50 worth of merchandise in the store promotion.” It was something to behold.

    However, they then followed that up quickly with, “We’re not going to do it again. We’re just going to email our customers directly, would you like to sign up?” Sigh! It’s amazing how a company can “get it” and “not get it” at the same time!

    Off to ruin the decorum at Quora now… thanks.

  7. Amy J January 3, 2011 at 12:39 pm #

    Done.

    It’s fun and super easy. Thanks Doug.

  8. dougbrowncreative January 3, 2011 at 12:42 pm #

    Hey you are fast Amy. Your second comment caught me half-way through. I was about to say: It’s easy and fast. Glad to hear you like it. I look forward to your delicately moderated bull-in-a-china-shop approach.

  9. Shane January 4, 2011 at 10:01 am #

    I wonder if Wikipedia missed an opportunity here, as the defacto online keepers of knowledge. They could have had an option where you can ask an editor of a certain topic a question (since the discussion tab for each entry is usually just experts arguing over details). Or at least had a search feature where you could ask a question and be directed to the part of the relevant entry that best answers it.

  10. dougbrowncreative January 4, 2011 at 9:00 pm #

    Shane that is an amazing thought! Wikipedia remains so one-way.

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