what is quora?

The best site you (probably) have never heard of.

I started playing around on Quora a little over a year ago. In that time I’ve become addicted. However it’s one of these sites that’s contained to Silicon Valley + a few people connected to Valley’ers. So let’s talk about it.

So what is Quora?

1) It’s like Twitter. But for people who want to learn things and/or have intelligent discussions.

On twitter we can follow celebrities and other high-profile folks to get a view into their world (+ our friends). On quora we can follow the folks who are experts in areas we want to learn about and follow specific interesting topics (+ our friends).

Assuming you’ve followed enough topics/people, pulling up the site produces new questions and answers about people and topics that interest you. It’s addicting if you like to learn new things or to answer questions.

2) It’s like blogging. But directed. Blogging answers questions that you have, while Quora is about answering questions other people have.

Typically I blog about things that I’m asking myself or that I find really interesting. It’s really “answering questions no one asked”. Like say this post, “What is Quora?” It has it’s place, but there’s something cool about answering a question that you know someone definitely cares about. I can’t speak for all bloggers, but there’s a large satisfaction that I get when I know that a post of mine is appreciated and well-read. I get that feeling a lot on Quora. I believe bloggers have a “contributor”-mindset, and Quora is sort of a utopia for this.

3) It’s like Facebook. But not really.

It’s like Facebook in that it gets social design very, very right. Facebook is killer because the whole process of sharing updates, photos, and many other forms of information with your friends is frictionless. Quora has designed a *terrific* social experience around asking and answering questions. The use of the Facebook connect feature encourages you to invite key people to the service, the “voting up/down”  rewards people who contribute awesome answers (while also improving the experience for everyone else so the best answer floats to the top), and so on. It’s amazing social design which we’ll likely increasingly see in every web service in the coming years.

So check-out Quora! I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. You’ll also see a bunch of answers from me on technology, politics, marketing, and other things I’m interested in. I’ve been meaning to blog more, especially about the campaign, but am struggling with where to start. So I’m jumping in with thoughts that I’ve been meaning to write up for the past year.

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