You’re on LinkedIn. You were cajoled to sign up for Facebook by friends and family, and now you’re talking about doing more “work” stuff on it. You keep hearing about Twitter and you’re finally starting to look into that. And now, out of nowhere, there’s this new kid on the block that’s got everybody a-flutter called Quora. Many are asking themselves “Is Quora Another Distraction?”
My answer? It depends: what are you doing with Quora? What should you be doing, assuming your time and/or attention are better spent doing something else?
If you are seeking popularity in this emerging network, you can certainly market yourself or your brand or your product… Quora can easily be gamed (just keep broadcasting to your Facebook or Twitter networks and have them vote your answers up). But that makes it a waste of time; and worse, it turns Quora into Digg.
I’ve personally been using Quora in two ways:
- Answering questions where I have niche expertise or perspective, which then provides me with a well articulated topic and content for my personal (but professionally-focused) blog.
- Following topics that interest me professionally and moderating up answers that I find to be really helpful and valuable, sometimes thanking people for sharing answers that appear to cut against the grain to encourage more candor and authenticity in the network.
I started using Quora in late December 2010, and I’ve been really impressed with the quality of the contribution and the contributors. As long as the vibe here is one of authenticity and integrity — people contributing in earnest to help one another, then Quora is not a distraction — it’s a valuable knowledge connector.
Note the words: it’s not an “information resource” — it’s a “knowledge connector”