By Justin Delos Reyes – Web Success Team
You’ve probably heard by now about a Q&A web service that’s caught fire among tech junkies and marketing gurus. But is Quora worthy of the hype it has received?
Quora describes itself as “a continually improving collection of questions and answers created, edited, and organized by everyone who uses it.” It’s a place for inquiring minds to find answers to their burning questions. And it’s a hub for experts (and aspiring experts) to lend their knowledge on topics ranging from basketball to social media marketing, and everything in between.
Why Quora Makes a Difference
The big question surrounding Quora is – what makes it different from Yahoo! Answers and LinkedIn Answers?
At first glance, the differences seem to be outweighed by the similarities. User A asks a question, and users B through Z (and beyond) have an opportunity to chime in with their thoughts about the subject. What sets Quora a part from Yahoo! Answers and LinkedIn answers are: 1) Through its ranking system, users can build their reputation as credible sources of information, and 2) Q&A is the foundation of the service.
While Yahoo! is a destination for news, horoscopes, movie times, etc. and LinkedIn is the go-to spot for showcasing your resume, Quora is quickly establishing itself as thee place for Q&A. When people think of Q&A, Quora strives to be the site that pops into people’s minds.
How to Build Your Reputation Using Quora
Everyone is an expert at something. Quora gives you the opportunity to prove it. Users who wish to stand atop the Quora mountain won’t get there by being the first to answer questions. They won’t get there by showing up in every thread either. To get to the top, a user must consistently provide valuable information in the discussions they join.
If a reader finds your answer helpful, he or she has the opportunity to improve your answer’s ranking by voting it up via the up arrow next to your name in the conversation thread. The higher the number of positive votes, the stronger your reputation as an expert will be (over time, of course). On the other hand, readers can also vote your answers down in the rankings by clicking the down arrow that appears next your name.
Despite what you may have learned as child, there is such a thing as a stupid question. And there is such a thing as a stupid answer (at least on Quora). Posing these types of questions and answers will get you nowhere fast. Disseminating carefully constructed information and pairing it with a genuine interest in helping others is the best way to build your reputation as an expert in your field.
Rise Above the Junk
Much of the negative discussions surrounding Quora is about the opportunity it gives spammers and people who use the site for self-promotional purposes. Proper etiquette (those instinctive unwritten rules social media users follow to help others) is expected, but as with Twitter and Facebook, it won’t always be observed.
Rise above the junk by actively seeking conversations that you can add value to. Use your networking skills to separate yourself from the spam and the “me-first” personalities. Dig deep to find people in your field with the “Best Answers,” and make nice with them to aid your reputation building efforts.
Quora’s rise to popularity happened rather quickly. So quick that it’s already garnered competition from services like TED Conversations. But is it worthy of the hype? Right now, it seems like it is. Quora is home to an active community where, despite the opportunity for spam to appear, is poised to give inquiring minds a legitimate place to share ideas.
Have you used Quora? What are your thoughts about it? You can register on Quora using your Facebook or Twitter account, or you can sign up via email.