Let’s not have a Quor-gasm

I don’t like Quora.

As far as I can tell I stand alone in this sentiment. Every blogger this side of Silicon Valley has lined up behind Robert Scoble’s opinion that Quora is the future of blogging.

I am an unabashed fan of The Scobelizer.  He is usually right, and much smarter than me.  Most people are.  And I understand some of the potential personal and business benefits of Quora.

But at the end of the day, any social platform has to connect with people in a consistent, meaningful way and on a personal level — even an emotional level. And the emotion I feel when I’m on Quora is anxiety. I’m not sure that’s the emotion they’re looking for.  Why does this creep me out?

It’s already too crowded

When I first visited Quora (pre-buzz), I thought it was a breath of fresh air.  It was so empty and wonderful!  I could connect to some good conversations, contribute, follow along, and learn a few things.

The next time I visited, I had 380 followers.  Huh?  And 20 messages in my inbox, most of them crap from people I never heard of before — the Quora equivalent of an automatic direct message. But wait there’s more.  I also had five notifications and “241 items related to you.” WTF?

Look I don’t need that in my life. I don’t need more freaking messages, notifications and items.  I’m happy to answer a few questions to help people. Then leave me alone.

I already have too much to read.

Many popular questions have 10, 20, maybe even 50 answers. Long answers. Who has time for that? On a daily basis?  ZZZzzz.

It’s too disorganized

There is already such a flood of questions that the site is a jumbled mess.  People are asking the same questions over and over and over.  There is no good way to sort through the goo to find something worthwhile.

Big buzz, little value.

So I’ve answered a few questions. I like answering questions because it makes me feel useful.  One question I noticed was, “What makes a Twitter snob?” Now there’s a subject right up my alley! So I answered it and included links to my blog post, and Mitch Joel’s post which were directly relevant to this question. Apparently these links served as a red flag for the Quora gestapo who “collapsed” (erased) my answer.  What a great way to build loyalty.

If you really want great answers to your questions without all the Quora flubber, join some LinkedIn groups related to your industry. With 600,000 varieties, you should be able to find a few you like.  I’m constantly floored by the experts in those groups who give quality spam-free advice. Without collapsing answers.

A new channel for spam

Poor little Quora.  It’s already like a little guppy in an oil spill gasping for breath. The spammers, SEO playas, and back-link re-sellers are probably circling like vultures. How to keep them out? I’m sure people will soon be selling us ways to build “massive traffic on Quora!!”

Obviously there is value to sharing information on Quora.  I mean, how can you argue with that? There have already been a dozen posts written about the business benefits.  If you have the time.  If you have the energy.  If you have the resources to respond to your 241 items.

I don’t.

But I’m a teacher, blogger, and consultant. When somebody asks me a question about Quora I better be ready to answer from a place of experience.  So for better or worse I’m going to stick around and hope they develop an option for “I’m just here to visit, please don’t send me items.” And heck, let’s hope Quora can address some of these issues and make it.  I always cheer for the guppy.

Look, I’m sure you have a much better bead on this platform than me. Have you tried it?  What do you think?  Am I missing the boat? What IS the future of blogging?

All posts

  • I agree. I joined so I’m in-the-know; I can’t criticize or rave if I don’t try myself.

    There’s a lot going on, a lot of repetition, already some spam.

    And I don’t look forward to the point where early adopters scold new users with “that question was asked months ago. search for it!”

    I’m going to keep using it slowly, but only because I don’t think I’ve completely wrapped my head around it yet. And that needs to happen before I fairly criticize it.

  • Quor-gasm ROTFLMAO …just yesterday I tweeted a demand that we put a moratorium on blog posts about predictions for 2011, new year resolutions and muthafookin Quora…

    I loved Quora back when it was vark.com …awesome website btw…in both design and community PLUS its been around for 2 yrs. But it never got the buzz that Quora for some reason got. Who said Zuckerburg? Quiet down in the back row…anyways…

    I dont like Quora for all the reasons you listed and more…plus its an unoriginal idea which probably pisses me off even more. So no brother, you’re not alone.

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  • Mark, much of your complaint sounds eerily similar to early scepticism of Twitter. You can disable notifications quite easily (unlike Facebook notorious setting history). Digital noise is a signal that your digital filters need attention. It’s not going to get any less stressful!

    I find the calibre of answers on the whole really interesting and I believe there is value in asymmetric following on Quora. For me that means I may connect with answerers of questions I like, not on Quora but on Twitter.

    call me a Quora Whora

  • Anonymous

    I’ve had the same experience with the pre-buzz Quora vs now.

    It looked promising then, but now it feels a little too much like MySpace crossed with LinkedIn.

    I do appreciate that quality contributors are participating, but I worry about the brute force of crowds overtaking quality with quantity.

  • Oh, so with you on this one.
    Pre-buzz wasn’t even that impressive.
    I don’t think we are going to be alone in this much longer before the blush is off the rose.
    Doubtful that most people have the issue that you are going to have with the requests.
    I will say that I have gotten some interesting responses there that I doubt if I had emailed and asked that it would have been answered.
    Platform wise, it resembles a stage with all the pretty people with bullhorns yelling into a crowd.

  • Thanks for your perspective Todd. Much appreciated!

  • My sentiment exactly. All of a sudden it was a wall of noise. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  • Thanks for the dissenting opinion Paul. And love the play on words. Would have made a better headline : )

  • Glad to have some company. I suspected there might be a few of you out there. It’s funny, I think buzz creates this ether. The buzz is great and it numbs your perspective. I kept expecting it to be great, expecting, expecting and then the ether wore off, I woke up and realized, “hey — I don’t really want to come back here any more.”

    I suspect you’re busy so it means a lot you took the time to pitch in with a comment Dino!

  • A reasoned perspective Ryan and a wise strategy. Good luck with your journey!

  • Never too busy for you brother 🙂

  • Neicole

    After 2 weeks, I’ve answered several questions and gotten a good answer to one of mine. I’ve enjoyed answering, but I agree with you, Mark, on several points. While it was easy to get started, the more I use it, the more I find the UI lacking. I also feel a sense of pressure and urgency using it, which I don’t like. And I certainly don’t think it’s the future or end of blogging!

  • Ironically, I asked a really good question(well I thought so any way) that was never touched. I’m really interested in this concept of Facebook credits becoming a viable micro-payment system (one of my predictions for 2011) and asked for opinions. Zilch. So this has kind of been the perfect storm of blah for me.

    Thanks my friend! Love to see you in the comment section!

  • i started Quora about two weeks ago. All I can feel is that it’s combinations of other things, and things that others could do better. I have answered several questions, been voted up (Yea…I guess…?) and have had a bunch of people follow me.

    I love the idea of Q/A with moderation (I’m not sure why they deleted your answer though. Might be a Mitch Joel hater in there which is CRIMINAL.), but I see this going through some serious modifications before it can have a place at the table.

    Sadly, I feel like this is a rogue wave – smashing in, getting everyone worked up, going away, and leaving everyone wondering how or why it happened…and then moving on with life.

    But…I’ll keep snooping around it until I find a real reason to leave.

  • Ugh Mark, out of curiosity (curiosity killed the cat is underrated), I signed up and low and behold, you are right, I am receiving numerous requests through email. I haven’t even uploaded a photo or created a profile there yet. I’m now thinking “Oh, sh*t” how do I get out of this?” It seems like it’s another ego-stroking (or circle jerk as they say) network. I’m tricky though because I always seem to have this formula “Hell no + hmm, I’m curious + OK, let me check it out = Like it/Love it/Horrendous I’m out of here.” I had the same feeling with Twitter so at this point in time, I’m unpredictable, but you have excellent points here that are very convincing. Is there a delete account option. Maybe I can get out while I can!

  • Wow nice analogy Paul — rogue wave. Love that. Time will tell what kind of a wave it is. I appreciate your loyal contributions to the community! Thank you!

  • Unfortunately you’re asking the wrong person. I’m drifting along, ignoring my items, messages, notifications and followers until the storm blows over. : )

    Thanks very much Anna!

  • But Mark, what do you really think about Quora? Just kidding. Great post! I was laughing as I read it because you feel exactly the same way I do. Just like you, I’m going to hang in there with it. At first I didn’t like Twitter either, so opinions can change. Hopefully this one will.

  • Jduck

    You couldn’t MAKE me try Quora. I tried Aardvark when it started – what an incredibly awful experience. I won’t try anything remotely like it again.

  • I admit it. I hated Twitter too at first. But that’s because it was stupid. Well … still is in a way. But I love it. Thanks Steve.

  • Thanks for commenting.

  • You aren’t alone, Mark. I don’t like LinkedIn “Answers” either, for most of the same reasons. And I dislike Formspring for even more reasons. Q&A just isn’t a natural way to interact, IMO.

    That said, I’m increasingly open to the idea that it hardly matters what the fashion of the day is. Today it’s Friendster, tomorrow it’s FriendFeed. Today it’s Posterous, tomorrow it’s Tumblr. Today it’s X tomorrow it’s Y. Once the sloshing begins, there’s no choice but to follow the wave, it seems.

    Personally, from a straight efficiency and economic standpoint, I think it’s time for us to get some standards down. I’d vote for Facebook except for its being entirely proprietary, which is never good news for a platform. Till then, we’ll just keep chasing the next thing, don’t you think?

    Hey, maybe I’ll post that on Quora….

  • I sure love your mind and you’re a great writer. It’s been too long since you were around here. Thanks for rocking the comments William!

  • Having signed up for Quora (not sure of my rationale or impetus) a few weeks back, I let it sit, received an email or two that I’d received some “followers”. Looked a few times and kind of felt lost, also like it was a bit “big”, vast, perhaps too much, maybe “what’s the point”.

    After seeing Mark’s tweet about this and following some of the comments, I felt compelled to go back and look a bit. Now, some ninety minutes after starting this rooting around, exploring and mental grasping, I think I have a better idea of what Quora is/wants to be; although I don’t know if I like the answer’s impact.

    Some people have suggested that it’s “long-form Twitter” but more directed towards specific topics, that seems to be plausible. I wound up seeing some topics that interested me (which I’m “following”) that led to questions that were interesting… yet more reading generated by internet browsing. More looking around and I answered a few questions. Now we move into a more serious time commitment. Ah, one could post a quick answer, but is that the point, is that the “right” representation of your views or ideas. That seems to be the “rub” against Quora for me: time, T-I-M-E, and the volume of it that it could absorb. While on Quora, I did find a pretty good “answer” to “What is, why is, how is Quora” at http://webtclr.com/f8YTBY

    That said, I can see where it could/might/will/should have value in terms of one’s brand, particularly for consultants, service providers, knowledge workers. By providing good, credible information and perspectives, you can reflect positively on your abilities, your brand, your commitment. Or maybe, its just the next “thing”, maybe it’s all those things and still, it’s “just the next thing”.

  • Hello Mark,

    Truth to be told, I kind of like quora, and I like linkedin Q&A. I have played with many so called new social networking sites like Diaspora (didn’t like it) and so many which I can’t remember the name of the website

    I also saw you commenting on the twitter snob question and I voted it up LoL.

    Is quora the biggest blogging innovation in 10 years? I doubt so. I think twitter is. Twitter took away boundaries and opened connections. Something which facebook failed to do but still had an advantage because people who met on twitter added them on facebook too LoL.

    Everyday I spend some time going through the questions and the answers. I do comment but I spend more time reading instead. Usually the top 3 answers or the one with the highest vote. Just to gain some knowledge from tech geeks, CEO’s, etc. I seldom go through 10 answers since some of the questions are really general and there are too many answers.

    So far I think quora is more like a discussion board than a Q&A site. Most of the questions are too general like “what is the best way to drive traffic to my blog”. Of course everyone have different methods. Some SEO, some blog commenting which Mack answered and got the highest vote, me? Twitter! If I answered twitter I doubt anyone who vote that at all LoL.

    I do learn from questions like Why twitter is popular in Japan, found out that Japanese can express more with 140 characters than english. One one character can mean the word “big” and we have to use three characters for that.

    Did I have an “quor-gasm” yet? NOPE. Did it make me “CUM” back? Yeap!

    Aaron

  • In the past few months, with a few dozen connections, Quora was OK for me. Not arousing, just, well yes, it had a few quirks, like others being able to edit your profile tagline as it appeared next to an answer. They fixed that. Still among the irks is not being able to easily add quotation marks to an answer and that apparent frowning on substantiating answers with source links. That is so impotent and unscientific of Quora.

    Well, now, with this wave of new people following me , Quora interaction drifts into becoming work, so I refocus on the connection and questions/answers that really help me along, tuning out most of the stuff.

    I feel with a small ruleset and focus on posting only questions, a decent wiki with a few moderators could offer more transparency and usability than quora in its current incarnation.

    On your really good question that was never touched (this concept of Facebook credits becoming a viable micro-payment system), I saw it but had no answer. You cannot (yet?) see on Quora how many people opened a question, only comments, answers and – gasp – edits of the question. That is one feature I dislike. Edits should be open proposals to the author and the author of a question should be more readily visible.

    RT @drelabre “So this SEO copywriter walks into a bar, grill, pub, public house, Irish bar, bartender, drinks, beer, wine, liquor”

    Seems to tell me on Quora we may need a bit of QEO to get questions noticed. Or is it the right people have not yet come across it because of the sloshing wave of noise?

  • Superb response Doug. Thanks for the thoughtful and thorough perspective!

  • Knowing you, I’m sure you evaluated this a lot more carefully than I did so I appreciate your view on this a lot Aaron. The whole theme of “time” seems to be running through the comments. Thanks so much for devoting your thoughts to this subject today!

  • Brilliant analysis. Your rocked the comment section on this one and hilarious SEO joke. Thank you!

  • I have spent the snow day time this week noodling around in Quora, and I come away with the feeling that its just a rehash. Like the poster above mentioned LinkedIn Q&A, if I have a question, whether superficial or requiring deep thought, I have the network already in Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. I guess also I am still in the Dark Ages and know people personally that I trust their opinion and would ask via Email.

    I think Quora has its place, but to me I’m already there in my other networks.

  • Thanks. Here an example of another pet peeve of mine about question and answer systems, the lazy senseless asking for a “best”. This one from Aaardvark http://vark.com/t/-TUGBz

  • I’m with you on that one. I have been unsubscribing from many sites because of all the unwanted emails and messages.

    I have never been one to email all of my friends and harass them…..

  • Thanks, Mark–very few blogs are so much fun to comment on! You’re doing a
    great job of spurring conversation.

  • Thanks for writing this, Mark! I’ve been wondering and trying to keep my curiosity at bay because I don’t need one more thing to do. I, like you, have plenty to read already. And it is the TIME thing. I write a blog, I Tweet, I’m a member of numerous LinkedIn groups, I do some dabbling on Facebook, I’m a speaker and I get a lot from each of them but, collectively, they take a lot of TIME. Most importantly, I’m a consultant who never has enough hours in the day. So no different than many people wrestling with the idea of one more thing.

    But, in addition to time, is the detractor of NOISE. Who needs more of that? I find that it takes me much longer to find thoughtful, original posts these days instead of Me-too rehashes and wannabe gurus pounding their chests for attention. (this blog excepted, of course) And that makes the combination of TIME and NOISE overwhelming.

    I get a lot of value from the social platforms I already participate on. This said, the more I hear about Quora, the more I feel the urge to check it out – to make sure I’m not missing something. Then I think about my schedule and turn away, trying to manage the best I can with what I’m already committed to. I’m trying very hard to learn to just say NO 🙂

    At some point I think I’m going to have to get good at that. Or choose to replace one thing with another instead of adding more. I just wonder when that will be. Because now I want to go look…

  • Nicely put! And, like so many others, I do agree. It’s just one more re-hash of the same old stuff. One of the reasons I hate Linkedin Groups is because people ask the same question and then post it in multiple groups, cluttering up my inbox and generally losing focus all together. I follow Quota because I have to (it’s the next big thing?). But, it is so cluttered and like you said, same old same old……… Maybe one day someone will figure out how to organize all of this stuff so we can make some sense of it rather than reading the same stuff over and over and over……..

  • Going into 2010, I thought that anything that would save people time would be “killer apps” and now a year later I think the problem is even worse. There is mor distraction, not less. Thanks Steve!

  • Ardath, thank you so much for your kind compliemnt about {grow}. I admire you so much so this has made my day!

    Personally I’ve crossed a threshold with the time thing. I used to be worried about keeping up with everything and everybody. I simply can’t so I’ve been doing a lot of purging. It’s going to have to be something pretty spectacular if a new platform is going to earn its way on my calendar! Like you I am learning more discipline in the NO category. Thanks so much for your comment Ardath!

  • Wow, that means a lot coming from you! Thanks you!

  • I agree. Thank you for contributing your perspective Carolee.

  • That is my instinct too. So why all the FUSS??? Maybe it appeals to people with a lot of time on their hands?

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  • My heart sunk with a thud after 24 hours of Quora. Bah, humbug! Why wouldn’t you just ask a question on Twitter? or Facebook? After all, are you just going to broadcast your sales messages to all those connections you’ve invested in building over the last few years.

    Personally, I like to ask questions on Twitter. 140 character answers are enough for my goldfish brain.

    PS: Am I the only one out there struggling with the name too?

  • You’re not alone, Mark! I think it’s probably a great tool that takes a TON of time to get any value. And, with Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, podcasting, blogging, and running two businesses, I’m trying to figure out the value and benefit not just to me, but to the businesses and our clients.

    There have been some really interested things uncovered in there. For instance, I happened on someone asking how to get on TechCrunch and Mashable and both Arrington and Parr answered. That’s pretty cool! But I agree with you it has a long way to go before we recommend its use for clients.

  • Yes, at first I thought people were talking about a marsupial. Any way, it’s interesting that so many people are flunking out after a short stint. Thanks so very much for your comment Jon!

  • People who are blogging about the benefits of Quora seem to be focused on the business benefits. Sure, I see it can be another listening post, a way to establish a voice of authority and a place to promote your brand — agreed. But at some point it has to provide value to PEOPLE or the whole thing will be just companies gaming companies. Yuck.

    Thanks for the wonderful comment Gini.

  • Mark, I’m so glad there’s someone else out there who has the same knawing doubts about Quora.

    I’m taking a wait and see approach, but I have a feeling that Quora may well end up as some sad delapidated stripmall (I think that’s the correct US term) covered in the tagging left behind by spammers, shonky vendors, and idiots.

    I also wonder if people have stopped to consider what Quora’s long term impact might have on all those carefully tended fora that offer up gems of wisdom and practical solutions to just about every problem you’re likely to encounter.

    The motivation for Quora might be good but the end result may not.

  • And…I keep hearing the voting system isn’t unbiased and that the “editors” can change questions and remove the meaning of what the author meant. So, until they decide what they want to be when they grow up and create the guidelines so people know what to expect, there is going to be a lot of negative backlash.

  • Thanks for providing your wisdom today. Much appreciated.

  • I guess I’d like to take a reality check. The sentiment so far is squarely a “thumbs down” to Quora. Usually there is more of a balance to the comments … in fact, I expected to get thumped on this post.

    It’s fascinating that the reviews have been so positive elsewhere but the {grow} community, who I regard as diverse, educated and savvy media consumers, is quite negative. Just find that interesting.

  • Like anything else, it will find it’s uses and users and use. And if successful social media platforms has showed us anything, they showed us that in order to be crucial and important usable of everything life they must and have to offer some true and significant value to us as individuals. Like you correctly point out Mark, many of us are already too crowded. But we’re crowded by valuable as useful elements. Quora will have it’s place at some point in time for varying individuals. Just like those channels on tv you have but never watch and some how stumble upon once every year. It was only a matter of time before we started segmenting the internet and sub-segmenting it.

  • Nice characterization Josip. Many thanks.

  • So far, I haven’t found much I want to read on Quora.

    My unanswered question was: What search terms might I use to locate bloggers who use their eccentricities, humor, or style to sell themselves and their services?

    It was an authemtic question! I asked because I really do want to find those people and learn from them! My searches with the obvious words are turning up nothing! And I figured there are search marketing experts there…right? But nada.

    I’ll probably go back a few more times, over time. But don’t feel any real draw.

  • I think your dislike is well-placed Mark. I set up an account for work purposes and suddenly found that the little Quora minions had put a stop on it because I’d broke their rules for naming. I’d put my name as ‘Charlotte from PolicyExpert’ as I don’t like to enter public forums for work without identifying myself (we have a policy to be very open and honest on the web). So then I had to wait for some time before I was reinstated after changing my name.

    I think it does have some use. It gave me some insight into one of the blogs that inspires us (Mint.com) and I was able to put questions out that interested me and even got a few responses.

    Long term I’m not sure this love of Quora will be sustained, it requires people power and I think because of the nature of it’s PR (information spread by Twitter etc) that only a select group of people will ever use it (journalists, PRs, people with a social media/new tech interest) who will try anything that’s new for a short while.

    Like with Twitter I am having to filter my Quora work notifications into a separate ‘crap’ folder though.

    Nice commentary! 🙂

  • There seems to be a unquenchable thirst to be early and right with predictions. This is akin to the music industry big wigs who want credit for being first to discover [insert big star’s name] yet those same people fall rather silent when their prediction doesn’t come true. Google Buzz anyone?

    Robert once said that FriendFeed was going to take over the world. How’s that going?

    The success or failure of Quora cannot be judged yet. I thought Twitter was dumb four years ago. I didn’t think another soul would give a crap what I had to say when I started blogging and much to my surprise, people drop by once in a while.

    It’s interesting to watch some clamor to be the leaders of opinion. We all get one. Let’s not rush to conform so we can prove to others we are individuals.

  • Nathanegan

    Mark,

    Can you not see the direct link and irony here regarding my situation with Twitter?

    -Nathan

  • Yes, further down in the comments I related a similar experience. I asked a question I authentically needed help on. Maybe people are drawn to the easy ones? Who knows. With all the traffic onboard, you would think SOMEBODY would pick up on it. And oh yes, if you are looking for an eccentric blogger, look no further : )

    Thanks Paula!

  • Nice to hear from you Charlotte. I like that characterization of dependence on people — versus PR — power. Wish I had thought of that first! : )

    Maybe Quora will be the Paris Hilton of social media, famous for being famous. I suppose it could be sustained on that alone if people are there to see and be seen.

    Thanks for your insight!!

  • I haven’t tried Quora yet, but something struck me right away as soon as I heard about it.

    “Aren’t a lot of people complaining that people are expecting information and consultation for free? Soo…why sign up for a website where that’s the whole point?”

    Yes, I’m quoting myself, as it was a conversation between me and my brain. Anyway…

    The other reason that Quora is not interesting to me and actually is kind of disconcerting is that I have been monitoring the LinkedIn “answers” section more carefully over the last couple of weeks, and the questions people are asking there just don’t make sense. “How do you market a new product?” “How much do you charge for web design services?” These aren’t questions that people should be answering in that kind of platform, and really, they aren’t questions people should be asking (just my opinion). To have a site solely dedicated to that kind of exchange just does not make sense to me.

    So I feel a little like the kid who says “I hate peas” before trying them, but Quora looks kind of green and slimy to me. Ciest la vie.

  • Now that I think about it — you’re right. Robert has not had a great track record predicting success. He was all over Google Wave too. Oh well. I still think he’s smart. : )

    Funny thing, Twitter had many of the same problems when it started. Terrible interface, target for spam, wall of noise type of mentality. The key difference though is that Twitter is the most optional of all platforms. You only have to commit to 140 characters. You can choose to read or not read.

    There is not a way to participate in Quora — even passively — without a time commitment. As a college educator, I get to interact with a wide swath of business people. Let me tell you the one thing they all have in common — no time for anything new. That fact could be the Quora-killer. It just takes too much time.

    I’ve enjoyed reading your blog Kneale and recommend it to the {grow} community! Thanks for your comment!

  • Meaning that it is a time-sucking wall of noise? : )

    The beauty of the social web is that there is no “right answer” and we can conform it and shape it to meet our individual needs and nuances. Even Quora is going to fit for many people, which is great.

    Thanks for taking the time to comment Nathan!

  • You know it’s going to be a good comment when somebody quotes their brain!

    I agree that many of the LinkedIn forums tend to be trashed. However some are very well-monitored and useful. If Quora tries to monitor both questions and answers for “quality” they will have to hire a thousand people and will piss off three times that many legitimate questioners in the process. That is an un-workable system unless it is a very small and contained community. If they “collapse” my answer after devoting thought and time to it, well it’s only going to take one of those to lose a fan.

    Having said that, I think you should taste your peas. Everyone should keep an open mind. I think it will fit for some people and you never know! Thanks for the entertaining comment!

  • What really, really p***es me off is that I have somehow logged in somewhere using my Twitter and/or Facebook account and now I can’t log in except on one laptop.

    When I try my Twitter or facebook logins, it says some other account is using them. This is ridiculous.

    I realise it’s a very local problem but it shouldn’t be so difficult.

  • For the sake of fairness, though, I should say I’ve found a few great questions posed by someone I really respect and then answered by 10 people I know and rate highly. 11 thought leaders on one page talking out one issue – that doesn’t happen often with conventional blogging.

  • Weird.

  • Appreciate the balanced comment Michael. A very cool find — thanks for sharing!

  • Mark, first time I visited I spent most time making sure my profile was correct than actually trying to find out how to use it. To this day, I type the url on my browser, end up on the page, and get scared because like you said, it requires a time commitment. I’ve decided not to pursue it not because it’s good or bad, simply because it’s too early to forget about my plan of action for 2011. Plus, the site has not matured enough for it to have a reasonable impact on my goals or those around me.

    Taking over the blogging world? I sincerely doubt it. Taking over the forums that end up at the top on Google with answers to your questions but were posted in 2005? Thank goodness. See you soon. ~Paul

  • Haha 🙂 Well, I just may. I’m not hearing too many reviews that are positive though. I think the Quor-gasm may already be wearing off.

  • Disclosure: I have visited Quora, and read some Q’s and A’s. But I have not joined or had the experience, so my scope of view is limited. However, that said:

    It seems to be what I would call “Web-enabled know-it-alls.” And you know what? I HATE know-it-alls. But that’s just me. I LIKE answering questions when I know something about the subject, which is something that I do regularly in many forums that are well established like LinkedIn groups and Marketing Profs Exchange. But I do not see any advantage (or practical use) to adding hyper-social sharing to a Q&A.

    If you want to add advantage to Q&A, then come up with a really great answer!

    I am basically an old fogey who believes CONTENT is and always will be much more important than CONNECTIONS, regardless of how numerous they are. In fact, I think it’s an easy case to make that the more connections you have, the more shallow and unimportant (which is to say frivolous) each one is. This is simple math, which no one is our society bothers to do any more. At least, not when the math is associated with anything meaningful. But if the math is designed to keep score, establish a social pecking order and prove you’re one of the popular kids, then everyone’s all over it. (See, “Klout.”)

  • My favorite type of Quora submission:

    Q: “How does [company A] stay so awesome? What else do they have in the pipeline?” – anonymous

    A: “Well, I’m glad you asked, Plant McSoftball. Here are some of the reasons why [company A] continues to be a leader in the [crap] space…” —CEO of Company A

  • Yeah, I agree. Taking over the blog world was a bit of a stretch, especially since we really don;t control Quora do we? I think blogs will be around for awhile! Thank you very much Paul!

  • Oh you just had to throw that klout one back at me huh? : ) Ha!

    If content is king, why wouldn’t you LOVE Quora. It much more about content than connections … at least I think. Any way, give it a fair shake-down. Maybe you will be the one person in the community who likes it. Thanks for lending your wonderful voice to the conversation Steven!

  • Beautiful. All I can say : ) Let the games begin.

  • I’m sure I will give it a fair try and I applaud the commenters who promised to do so. Seriously. But what I like about content is NOT volume. It’s meaning. I like needles not haystacks. An awful lot of people seem to be proceeding with business plans based on how cheap and easy it is now to automate haystack creation. Down with TMI. 🙂

  • Casudi

    I agree with you. However I am intrigued how it will all turn out in the end, so I keep going back to check 🙂 I wonder if it can morph into something really useful or if the ego-trippers will eventually fall over themselves? Some of them I know from “life” and they are good at answering questions, but not too much else.

    Yesterday (it was a windy wet Sunday) I looked around for some questions, good questions that in all probability no one would ever answer (no prestige) and I answered them. The first question was followed by two people (including me) and on a subject I know something about, classic wooden boats. The other question had no following and was related to cat behavior; again something I know something about! I received warm personal thanks from both and I felt good I could accommodate with helpful answers. Do you think that my experience could have been the essence of how and why it all started………..in the first place?

  • Much like my comment about paid-for-content on a different post of yours, there is nothing on Quora, that I cannot find by using my Google skills. If anything, Quora is a way for the lazy to gain answers. Why search query results when you can have people answer for you? Maybe it’s another Bing, “your decision maker”.

    As quick as Scoble is to throw out the rubbish, I gotta wonder of he’s getting paid to evangelize this site. Though he and I have spoken on Twitter before, it hit me as a bit odd that it was he who was the first to answer my initial question I placed on there. It could very well be that it was in how tagged my question, but he was on it in a matter of minutes.

    Not to push my own blog, but I did write my own thoughts on Quora, last week. http://www.anocial.com/2011/01/10/quora-resistance-futile-or/

    When it comes down to it, for me, Quora is jumbled, difficult to navigate, and boring. Wiki-gone-wrong, if you will.

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  • I liked the discussion of Quora on Adverve this week with Ben Kunz. I registered. Any site that asks me to comb my Twitter and Facebook connections to instantly connect I refuse so I have zero connections. But I did try out the Q&A technology. But to me its Yahoo Answers for smarter (for now) people. And there is no guarantee you will get an answer.

    I asked a question last week that is technically very sensitive to some businesses and one segment of the Ad Industry. The answer exists and I tried Google and Bing and could not find it. So I asked Quora and so far crickets. Basically I want to know the click through rates for digital ads on the web per 10,000 page views. In 2008 it was 20. So of course that reflects really poorly for Digital if it has not improved. If you know where to look Mark I will start promoting you as the New Quora! 😉

    So I haven’t really spent time on the site other than answering 1 question and asking that one.

  • Casudi

    Fortunately before I started, a business associate told me to turn all notifications off ~ go to settings/email settings.

    I was also told by someone who tried to delete their account ~ that it was there forever like FB. And BTW who owns all the content?

    Good Luck! @CASUDI

  • First, I would like to thank you and congratulate you for being the 7,000th comment on this blog! Your {grow} edition antique wooden boat is in the mail : )

    This is really a lovely story Caroline and this was the state of Quora entered the scene. Quaint. Now it’s a superhighway. I’m glad you found your Happy Place on Quora!

    Thanks for being such an amazing voice on the {grow} community!

  • Great perspective Brian and thanks for adding the link to your relevant article.

    The same thought crossed my mind about Robert but it left in a nano-second. He’s too smart to do something dumb like being a paid sponsor and then not disclose it. I would be shocked. And, as chronicled in the comments way below, he does not have a great track record in predicting successes. : )

    Thanks for the great comment Brian!

  • You don’t have to promote me as the new Quora. I’m starting my own Quora called “Quark.” It only has questions that I can answer. Very small site. : )

    Did you throw your question out on Twitter? I’m amazed at the answers i get. Also, you might try a relevant LinkedIn group. Best of luck!

  • Well done!

  • On a side note, I am finding Quora to be a great resource for finding some really fantastic, knowledgeable people to follow on Twitter.

  • I wouldn’t touch it with a virtual bargepole. There aren’t enough hours in a day as it is, without having to factor in answering stupid questions or connecting with people who only have in common the fact that they too have a head and breathe. I’ll stick to the mainstream rather than the lame faddy, here today gone tomorrow, I think.

  • Kenny Rose

    Hi Mark

    I have tried Quora and I like it because I found value in some of the answers I read and the questions posed. It is difficult to use. I have not mastered how to use it yet. I was looking at it from the angle why is this product being developed. What value can people get from it.

    After reading various posts on benefits and complaints about spam I started to understand why people were anti Quora. For me I liked the variety of perspectives and questions posed but mainly because of my interest in business. I have seen some great questions and answers. But it definitely eats up time. The fact answers can be collapsed/moderated and changed for me goes against the whole point of the product and why I have used it.

    I hope it morphs into something better for their sake because it is all about the customer. If people get spammed, questions are rehashed, it eats up time and it is over policed then it goes against the whole point of using it from my perspective. And that is when I am Out. 🙂

  • Anonymous

    Perhaps this is already answered in the comments, I clicked through for the Facebook/teen article and stayed for the Quorgasm (best headline EVER). Anyway, I agree, with all of your aforementioned frustrations with the site. However, now that we’ve ridden this adoption roller coaster a couple of times, it’s easy enough to sit back and wait for the people that aren’t consistent adopters (something I find more useful than early adoption these days) to, well, leave. And they will. Because Quora and LinkedIn answers (which you also mentioned) can and will weave towards a meritocracy, that is the smart people who think through their answers and have some experience, will get farther than the “great post!” “You’re awesome!” answerers and retweeters that blog or micro-blog every second, whether it’s an original thought or not.

    Because of the “How to build big traffic on Quora” type posts you mentioned will happen, I don’t necessarily mind the early on gestapo like topics. They’re just learning how to deal with the onslaught like everyone else. And it will evolve over time, as influencers emerge. And they will. And they should. But I fimrly believe ( I HAVE to believe) that it won’t be a lot of the rah-rah stuff we see on Twitter and Facebook when it comes to business. I HAVE to believe that the tactics that are turning some of us off right now are going to make quora a better more interesting place to learn and grow and yes, from time to time, showcase our industry specific knowledge on a subject.

    But like you, and likely many others, I will sit back and wait for that moment and hope that Quora doesn’t turn into a spammy swamp.

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  • Good call I think! Thanks Alasdair!

  • Agree on the positives but the time issue is going to be hard to overcome and probably the issue that kills the thing for most people. Thanks for the great comment Kenny!

  • Problem is, I think the gestapo-like tactics are getting worse! They will have to as the spammers close in. There is noway they will be able to keep up.

    Much appreciated Maren. Thanks so much for taking the time to add your comment!

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  • Amazing write-up! This could aid plenty of people find out more about this particular issue. Are you keen to integrate video clips coupled with these? It would absolutely help out. Your conclusion was spot on and thanks to you; I probably won’t have to describe everything to my pals. I can simply direct them here!

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