Just as Twitter and Foursquare blew up, the new kid on the block this year, Quora (not the Tron character) has doubled in users since the explosion of new signups in late December and this past week. Not to be compared to Twitter, Quora is a knowledge database of questions and answers powered by the community. Quora’s main attractions are composed of the following factors:
1. Participation from the big players at Silicon Valley, including – Steve Case, Robert Scoble and Chris Brogan.
2. An open community of thought leaders.
3. Incorporation of live updating and SEO.
4. Good design for efficient interactivity and conversations.
We’ve witnessed the growth and power of real time this past year, especially with Twitter and Google Realtime. Quora’s combination of real-time answers, paired with an accessible community of experts, is what sets it apart from other social media channels and Q&A sites like Yahoo! Answers and Ask.com. While some social media sites have received skepticism for concrete usefulness, Quora’s value is obvious. Similar to any news site, Quora is a medium for discovering news, which people have been doing since the beginning of journalism. The questions asked on Quora spark conversations from people like Steve Case (co-founder of AOL) who are prompted by questions about the companies they work for, information that is highly desired.
Much of Quora’s success is due not only to its participating intelligent community but also because the design provides for a good user experience. Quora incorporates interactive aspects of social media like “voting up” on questions, real-time feed, follow features, and an engagement display. Integrating social media channels like Twitter and Facebook for easy participation, Quora could potentially become a powerful player when it comes to search. People are already starting to use the site as a knowledge database for industry questions and a place to research feedback on restaurants and products. If Quora is able to maintain quality content through an influx of users and spam, it could become a go-to search resource and news information hub. Quora Q&A’s are already appearing under Google search results.