If you've been keeping up with TechCrunch, Robert Scoble and other tech/social news in the past few weeks, you've probably heard a bit about Quora.com. SLANT took a tour to see what all the fuss was about.
What is Quora?
It's a social forum where registered users can ask questions and provide answers. Wikipedia does this, but it has a relatively small pool of contributors. With Quora, you're welcome to provide an objective answer, but Quora acknowledges that answers provided by the community may be biased, and they're ok with that. Just follow their three basic principles - embrace Quora as a forum of people who want to learn, contributors should "be nice" and whatever your answer or opinion, just explain why.
Got it? Good. So how does it work? Easy – just type a question in the toolbar and submit.
From here, anyone can answer any questions with unlimited answers. Quora's users can then vote answers up or down depending on their usefulness or relevancy. in our first visit, we did our part: we asked a question, answered one, and voted. Yay, user-generated content.
How do we like it?
In theory, a pool of smart people available to answer your every question sounds great. And thinking about it with clients in mind, it could provide a great forum for contributing subject-matter expertise. It's also another tool in the SEO toolkit and naturally ties in to your social media accounts. Yay, marketing.
But honestly...why all the hype? Yeah, there are some great topics and insightful questions, but as expected with any web forum, there are also a lot of silly questions. User experience-wise (something near and dear to our hearts), the site is kinda a mess. No simple listing of topics to follow and once you have followed topics, there's not a clear route to find that list and drill down. People will eventually find it, sure - it's just not intuitive.
Quora seems destined to become just another web forum. That said, Quora seems willing to shape the experience based on the community's use and needs, so we'll be very curious to see what happens. Yay, evolution.
Are you using Quora? Do you agree or disagree with our slant?