I’m sorry. I have to say it.
Quora just isn’t all that.
Yes, the interface is cool. Yes, you can follow not just people, but also individual questions and keywords. Yes, you can push questions to specific folks. Yes, all the cool kids are doing it and praising it and its future potential endlessly. Yes, I got my account and have thoughtfully taken the advice to be a listener first.
I’m not trying to be cynical. I’m not trying to offer a different perspective for some other purpose. I’m just not totally on-board. It’s not that I don’t “get” the site…I’m just not wowed yet.
We’ve had Q&A online for quite awhile now. Yahoo, despite all its troubles, has been running its Answers platform for a few years. Focus.com caught fire for a bit. Google bought out Aardvark. And LinkedIn has its own system. But now, here comes Quora, blowing everyone’s minds.
One person is already touting how Quora “didn’t” turn into a spammy site like Yahoo’s. Didn’t, for those of you uncertain about this, is a past-tense word. Therefore his statement implies that Quora is already fully emerged, matured, and has dodged that bullet.
(Never mind the fact that my recent follower over there is a brand, not a person. And never mind the fact that one of the most recent questions on a keyword I follow was then answered by the very person who asked it. And never mind the lesson here, that these two behaviors point directly to why user-generated content sites can become hard-to-navigate, large-scale petri dishes for over-the-top self-promotional people.)
Listen, I’m not here to make waves. I’d love nothing more than for one website to offer the highest-quality content in the form of genuine questions answered by knowledgeable, verifiable individuals. I benefit from that as much as the next guy.
I’m just not certain why we should all be foaming at the mouth to call it the next big thing. I’ll be happy to eat crow when Quora is as big a part of peoples’ lives as Facebook or YouTube or Google itself have become.
But until then, I’ll remain only casually interested and casually participating.