What Can Quora Answer?

Quora is all the buzz with the digital early-adopter crowd. At first glance, Quora doesn't appear all that different from other question and answer services the Internet has spawned, and yet there is a seeming groundswell around its usage. The largest appeal of Quora early on has been the unparalleled quality and qualifications of those industry leaders taking the time to answer others' questions. The value of insights like this seem to be without question. But the question everyone who has used Quora -- well, how about instead of me answering it, I just offer up the second answer on Quora to my question today: What should I write about for my MediaPost column today? Answer:

From: Tim Geisenheimer, Sales Manager at CBS Interactive: "Quora is insanely addictive and it incorporates some truly cutting edge tech, but it remains to be seen whether or not it will take off beyond the core users that have adopted it so far. It has the potential to be a broadly useful tool, but its deepest content is very niche at the moment. What will be the hook that will drive usage beyond the digital media cognoscenti?"



Interestingly enough, my first answer was from one of digital media's leading journalist, Brian Morrissey from Ad Week, who said: "It has to be on Quora being the next Google/Facebook/Twitter, using your question here as the hook for why it is/n't."

Which, as Brain obviously figured out, was why I had posted the question, my first on Quora. The interesting part for me is that the last time I tested a service because the early adopter crowd seemed to be in love was a one-week commitment I made to use Twitter to see how it grew on me. Anyone who follows me @joemarchese on Twitter knows how that worked out. I think we can all agree that Twitter, if not totally mainstream, has certainly grown far beyond the "digital media cognoscenti."

The truly fascinating part of Quora is that It answers questions, like those about search. It has real-time interation, like Gwitter, and social community features, like Facebook. Does Quora represent the future of social/digital media, or will it remain a favorite only among the early adopter crowd? My vote is for the former, but the simplicity of product and Quora's ability to maintain quality given larger audiences will be the key. 

What I know for sure for now is that I am looking forward to getting more questions answered, like: What will be the Internet's version of the 30-second television spot?

4 comments about "What Can Quora Answer? ".
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  1. Suzanne Lainson from SportsTrust, January 18, 2011 at 4:55 p.m.

    I've tried it a few times, but the topics I am most interested in haven't produced great threads. I can still find better discussions elsewhere.

  2. Robert Formentin from *, January 18, 2011 at 5:47 p.m.

    Not sure what compelled you to write about Quora.

    Your piece would have been much stronger had you compared the differences between Quora, WikiAnswers and YahooAnswers or perhaps explored Facebook Questions and the potential impact they might have on the Q&A market and Quora itself.

    Or maybe why they were able to get an $86 MM investment. That would be worth reading about.

    On a side note I read TechCrunch's Mar 28 2010 story. Basically Quora is great because it was started by ex-Facebook guys.

  3. Alex Luken from Humana, January 19, 2011 at 9:14 a.m.

    I find Quora's requirement that you log in using your real name, as opposed to a user name, to be its biggest differentiator between it and other Q & A sites. It will be interesting to see if an actual community of users develops, akin to the social network of users on

  4. R.J. Lewis from e-Healthcare Solutions, LLC, January 19, 2011 at 3:49 p.m.

    I think the power of Quora is in the fact that it is primarily the "digital industry leaders" participating today. This crowd provides a filter of quality. It will succeed if it can "harness" the thought leaders of other community/topical niches and somehow retain the resistance to go main stream and open up to the world. There needs to be a gatekeeper (such as developing quality ratings of previous answers) in order to preserve the quality of the platform.

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