Quora: What It Is and What It Is Not ()

Posted on by Abby Johnson |

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Have you jumped on the Quora bandwagon yet? A lot of people have and are calling it the next big social phenomenon. Others are relating it to Yahoo Answers and Wikipedia. Some people are even saying that it will replace online forums. So, what is it?

According to Patrick O’Keefe, the author of Managing Online Forums, “Quora is more or less a forum.” However, some people don’t agree with him because they associate forums with things of the past. They, instead, want to associate Quora with something like Facebook or Twitter.

“I think that sometimes people want to see evolution, or something along those lines, in things that maybe don’t need it, or in a way that’s not really fair,” he said.

He compared forums to bread stating that, while many people think bread hasn’t evolved, it really has. Today, there are many different types of bread, and it is used in numerous ways. O’Keefe believes the same principle applies to forums.

These online communities are, essentially, threaded text-based conversations, and interestingly, he points out that this same type of conversation is the backbone of Facebook. He believes that Quora not only has this feature, but that it also has social features.

“The reason Quora is good is because they have taken these features, and they have put them together in a very attractive, very slick, very good way that makes a lot of sense… and really the people aspects of Quora are why it’s successful – the people contributing and the people behind it,” said O’Keefe.

He went on to say that Quora was useful from a business perspective. Although actual brands are not permitted on the service, individuals from companies are allowed and could monitor certain keywords and also answer questions. Companies could potentially receive extra search engine favor since these questions are indexable.

Just like any other service, people are always wondering where it will go in the future. While O’Keefe is not sure, he did address a few challenges that the company would face. First of all, there is the issue of too many basic questions. Another challenge is the fact that people will ask the same question over and over. Thirdly, Quora will have to find a balance in its userbase since it has had the privilege of having people such as former AOL CEO Steve Case answer some questions. However Quora handles these challenges will likely determine its future.

So, what is your take on Quora?

Posted in: Applications, Patrick O’Keefe, Social Media
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