14 Reasons Why Quora Will Be Bigger Than Twitter

by Paul Wilson

 


When I read Dave Chaffey’s article 14 reasons Why Quora won’t be bigger than Twitter I had to smile. I remember reading the same type of rhetoric concerning Twitter in the beginning of the tweet frenzy. People just couldn’t believe that such a simplistic service could ever be big. Frankly, they were right—for a few years. However, the Twitter boys kept to it and made the service a mainstream way of digital life.

Of course, Dave Chaffey was refuting The Telegraph, which boldly announced Quora Will Be Bigger Than Twitter. The Telegraph’s article was more like a love letter to Quora, or an article that you might see one of the Quora founder’s mothers writing. Truthfully, there are so many variables this early on that it is anyone’s guess on how Quora will fare.

Yet, I own a blog and therefore have an opinion =). This being the case, I am placing my bets on Quora to be the next big player, and here our 14 reasons why. ~Paul W.

14. Quora’s Essence

Roll Twitter and Google together and you get Quora. It is both search and engagement, which helps sell its appeal. The main element of popularity for both Twitter and Google is their ability to find the answers to what we want, whether it is around entertainment, business, personal. Twitter with its legends of followers, and Google with its cold algorithms have been our source of answers for a long time. Quora’s model, though not new, provides a robust platform of socialness to the world of Q&A.

13. “I Get it” Factor

If you go on Quora you cannot help but be impressed with the development of the site, it is very intuitive (which is more than what some social networks can say). Yet, that is not the main selling point, what is important is that the early adopters get it. Instead of having arguments about the usefulness of Quora, like we saw in the early days of Twitter, people are quickly accepting Quora for what it is and running with it.

12. Shiny and New

Twitter is old hat and us techno geeks are craving something new. It has been quite some time since there has been something for us to drool over, which might be the reason we are so entertained by a Yahoo Answer’s knock-off. Yet, Quora seems to have the makings for a drool fest in the blogosphere. Foursquare had potential, but it meant that many of us digital nerds had to actually be in the real world, or more accurately put: have a life, which was truly asking a lot from us.

11. No Limitations

What made Twitter unique was its 140 character limitation. It wasn’t another blogging site with lengthy opinions (though with Deck.ly that might all change!). Instead Twitter empowered short opinions but thousands and thousands of them. Limiting content in a Q&A service might not be the brightest thing, plus it provides Quora the ability to establish itself as a leader in many topics, which is very hard for Twitter to do (even with a person’s thousands and thousands of tweets).

10. Limitations

Here’s my two cents on the mighty fall of MySpace: no limitations on filth. Seriously, when I had an account with MySpace I cannot tell you how many hookers and porn stars tried to befriend me. Now, I would like to think that I am an attractive guy, but we all know those accounts were nothing but spam bots. Unfortunately, lately I have been assaulted with the same sort of porn bots on Twitter. I can handle regular spam bots, but it is quite offensive to get pornographic tweets and followers. Quora seems to side step this issue right out of the gate with an adult filter. If I want to learn more about the sex life of complete strangers I can turn on a switch with Quora and be flooded with it. However, by default I don’t have to worry, which is refreshingly nice! I hope Twitter is watching and learning.

9. Quality

Maybe this ties into number 12, but the quality of answers is what differentiates Quora from Yahoo Answers. I was amazed to see how many mega superstars were participating with in my field of interests and other areas, and there quality of answers. It is this element of engagement and acceptance that will sky rocket Quora into the general consciousness of main stream media and society, and potentially steal some of Twitter’s big stars.

8. Daily Integration

Finding and answering questions for most people, is an ongoing part of their daily lives. Quora isn’t some fancy social network that you occasionally go to because it is hip. Rather it is a useful and helpful tool that can answer the most mundane question like “What are the toilets like at Google?” to a more advanced question as, “What is the future of Thorium based nuclear power?.” Having such a range in questions and applying quality answers to them will help Quora become more and more the go-to-site for the really easy and tough questions of life.

7. Friendly

Obviously, being a search engine nerd I have to point out the biggest difference between Quora and Twitter/Facebook—it plays nicely with ALL the search engines. By openly allowing each question and comment to be searchable Quora allows its content to be more easily found. This is where Yahoo Answers did well, and where it will be a huge benefit for Quora. Yet, Quora isn’t just friendly to the searchies, but it also respects it users desire for privacy. Any of Quora’s users can block the search bots from indexing their questions. Finally, a network that empowers its users with the option of privacy (ahem….again, some social networks should be taking copious notes).

6. Content Options

Quora has several channels of content when it comes to its questions. First and foremost, is the ability to answer questions. However, unlike Twitter and Yahoo Answers it allows the option to easily include imagery into your answers. Another content option is the ability to create dialogue around the answers provided. Quora side steps a major drawback of Yahoo Answers and that is allowing chatter among its members. In Yahoo Answers community rules it states, “Yahoo! Answers is a community of questions and answers, not a chat room. If a post is neither a question nor an answer, it doesn’t belong here.” Obviously, Quora is a purest when it comes to asking and answering questions as well, and will remove from its Q&A content stream anything that is not a question or answer. However, it does allow people to attach comments to a question or answer. By default the comments are not displayed, but a simple click and the comments can be expanded out. Now it is possible for people to rant and rave and talk to each other without distracting from the main object of the site. More importantly Quora gives options to its users to further deepen their connections to those asking and answering questions.

5. Internet Fuel

When it comes to the Internet, I think I can safely say that finding an answer to a question ranks up there with the other top uses of the Internet. For many people the Internet provides unlimited access to knowledge and curiosity (which I can’t say is always good). Even in its infancy Quora provides a powerful way to quickly find the answers we need to fulfill our quenchless curiosity. This ability provides further fuel in pushing the Internet into our lives. By having additional resources to answering our questions Quora in many ways gives the Internet one more tool to infuse itself into our lives. It is this type hyper fuel Quora needs to continually focus on if it even wants a chance to outgrow the Twitter frenzy.

4. There’s Room

You remember the old advertisement, “There is always room for Jello”? Well, I have come to learn that if a social network can break through the obscurity barrier and prove itself of value to the masses that there is always room for it on the social graph. Quora seems to be blasting through the Internet’s thick wall of noise and having itself heard and seen. I have already spoken to the value and distinction the service provides. Having these elements creates an environment primed for growth. Is their enough space for Quora to grow bigger than Twitter? Possibly, but it really depends on how Quora maneuvers through its growth. The real linchpin is Quora itself, and whether it can handle the lime light as well as the other big social networks. If it can, then there is room at the top of the social network food chain for it.

3. Quality Controls

I’ve already spoken to the fact that Quora allows you to filter out the filth, but another powerful aspect is that Quora tries to stop the nonsense before it even begins. Providing quick mandatory training on how to provide quality questions I believe helps lift the value of content Quora produces. Anyone who has spent even a little time on Twitter will probably agree that it would be nice to have required training for all newbies before a single tweet is sent. Add the fact that Quora has the reddit-like voting up/down feature and now we don’t have to worry (at least not too much) about having a bunch of worthless content.

2. Instant Community

The greatest reason Quora will be bigger than Twitter is the value it offers to the blogosphere. By interacting via a Q&A environment Quora infuses you into an already existing community, which in turn assists in building your own web real estates. Venture Capitalist Mark Suster has blogged to this point, but one thing he doesn’t talk about is how this is different than Twitter. Twitter by design isn’t an instant community. Instead, Twitter is more a tool to broadcast to your community. To be truly successful with Twitter you must either have a strong community off of Twitter, or follow thousands of people you don’t know in hopes that they follow/engage you back (and is this really success). When it truly comes down to it, Twitter is a broadcasting platform, much like email. For this simple reason, Quora’s worth of a providing an instant community is far more valuable than Twitter’s benefit of just being a broadcasting system.

1. If Twitter can do it….

Enough said!

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