A view at Quora from the Social Media Marketing Community

Quora it is: Everyone was intrigued to see what the former facebookers were up to.

The buzz:  Quora has gained a lot of momentum in recent weeks, thanks to the presence of some high profile technology influencers (former AOL, current Netflix CEOs, Robert Scoble) and a slew of articles from TechCrunch, Mashable and so on. Consequently, there are plenty of conversations in the community fueling the debate “should you be on Quora?”
The buzz goes up and up (though it seems to taper a bit in the recent days). Let’s not forget that our brain has a ‘seeking system‘ which makes every new toy much more interesting to us who like to play.

By the way, Quora’s buzz is much higher in the high and medium influencers tier of the community (44%) than in the low one (15%). In the map below, H/M influencers who talked about Quora are colored in green.

Who is talking about Quora among top and medium influencers of the marketing community?

Quora is an old concept (online Q&A) wrapped in a nice social skin. The jury is still out on its future even if a majority in the community feels optimistic about it.

The sentiment: Most people like it or think it has a future:

On the positive side, people tend to agree it’s simple, smart, useful and that it’s a good platform to establish oneself as an expert. On the negative side, however, people point out it’s already spammy (i.e: it’s already been taken over by the marketing pushy type), it’s not intuitive (for the non-techy ones) or its model to rank answers is flawed and can be gamed.

Here are 4 positive and negative sample opinions.

The +++
The Publicity Hound’s blog: “6 reasons to use Quora to promote your expertise.”
Social Times: “Why Any Serious Internet Entrepreneur is on Quora.”
Scobleizer: “it’s easier to write when someone asks a question and it’s just hanging out there to answer.”
SocialMouths: “besides the game rules it’s pretty much controlled by the community.”

The ––– (often from a very particular angle):
Marketing Pilgrim: “As for it being the next great marketing tool, I don’t see it.”
Wadd’s PR: “Never before has a social network launched with such hype and disappointed so quickly.”
Businessgrow: “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.”
Defining new media also has some not so rosy comment about it.

My spin: Right now Quora is at that stage when it’s popular enough for all the digerati and early social adopters to be there (buzz), yet young enough that people are still trying to understand its value (stimulating more people’s interest and curiosity).  In the long run, what will differentiate Quora from other Q&As is its ability to deliver a positive experience through trust (who is answering) and relevance (of the questions and answers). LinkedIn Groups and Q&As does this well at this point in the B2B space and twitter kind of offer a similar value.
Is there room to leapfrog platforms that exist today and capture our over solicited attention?

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