I signed up for Quora when they first started allowing people in after the private beta last year, but fairly quickly clicked away at the time because I didn’t feel the need to participate on yet another social platform. Much like my first – and perhaps many people’s first reaction to Twitter – I didn’t see the point.
But as the cacophony of hype swelled over the last few weeks, I decided to jump in and see if I’d find any business use there. It didn’t hurt to read the insights by people I highly respect like Shel Holtz and David Armano. And while I still haven’t adopted nor found the value in FourSquare or Gowalla for me personally, I started seeing the potential of Quora once I set aside my resistance.
In the short time I’ve been dabbling , I find the potential lies in the following areas:
- The ability to learn from peers and conduct research. For example, this question on measuring the ROI of social media; something top of mind in any company developing a social strategy. At least at this point, it’s seems easier to find solid information compared with some Google searches I’ve done.
- The ability to ask questions of others to test your ideas before releasing them in your market
- It provides a platform for a knowledge business to demonstrate their credibility. Forget the sales pitch, build your awareness on Quora. Show, don’t tell is a very powerful sales tactic.
- The ability to find potential business resources and partners by searching on topics, observing responses and behavior. That combined with their overall digital footprint should provide a decent snapshot. Like dating and interviewing, you want to sample behavior in a variety of settings.
- For entrepreneurs and sole proprietors, there seems to be a lot of valuable content on business models, funding and investing. You can learn a lot of practical business knowledge here without paying for a business degree. Granted, there are plenty of books that do the same, but Quora is searchable and snackable. Speed rules.
Like Twitter, the breadth and depth of the communities and knowledge forming on Quora is not immediately apparent. There’s little to distract you from the core purpose of learning and sharing ideas a little deeper than you can on Twitter. No, you’re not going to rock your business out of the gate. Like any other social platform, Quora will take some time. And ultimate success and staying power will depend on how they evolve the service and manage the noise that comes with mass adoption. They’re certainly not out of the woods yet. Cwora very plainly highlights the risks they face in achieving staying power after the hype dies down.
What’s your take?