Why You Should and Should Not Use Quora

I struggled with this story.

Should I add to the rapidly mounting tidal wave of Quora hype, or purposely ignore the new social darling to prevent further dilution of the fragile community?

Ultimately, Quora is a massive trend, and relevant for the tourism industry.  And since we have always promised to bring our readers the latest trends in travel tech…

…why you should and should not use Quora.

What is Quora?What is Quora?

Per Quora, the site is a ‘continually improving collection of questions and answers created, edited, and organized by everyone who uses it. The most important thing is to have each question page become the best possible resource for someone who wants to know about the question.’

Although not an ideal example, but one that most will understand, Quora is a Q & A site with similar features to Twitter, Wikipedia and Yahoo! Answers.

What makes Quora different is the established community on the site, in addition to the blending of social graph and interest graph information that becomes the basis of your profile.

That means the site knows you and knows what questions you want to see, and possibly answer.

For a true answer to the question of ‘What is Quora,’ I would highly recommend this post from Quora user Lucretia M. Pruitt.

Why is Quora such a big deal?

A couple of high-profile bloggers have called it the next big thing, it has a strong community of early adopters and it just feels like a next step in our social evolution.

When Twitter launched certain friends and counterparts were the only active members on the site.  Counterparts who always seemed be drifting, often unknowingly, towards the next social network (ugh, I can’t believe I am writing about the next social network).

Quora feels like Twitter did in 2007.

And that is why it has quickly become a big deal.

For additional perspective on ‘Why Quora’ take a quick read through David Armano’s recent post, ‘Seven Reasons Why Quora Will Be Bigger Than Foursquare.’  Good stuff.

Why Quora is Important for CVBs, Hotels, Attractions, etc.

In comparison, Twitter feels forced.  Think about it.

Searching for relevant tweets, vainly attempting to communicate with people who either don’t want to follow you or have already moved on to the next topic and a general sense of promotion for the sake of promotion does not fit perfectly with the mission for many in the tourism industry.

Namely, providing information on why you should visit my city, hotel, attraction, restaurant, kayak tour, ferris wheel, etc, etc, etc.

Or, from the concierge perspective, helping tourists figure out where they should go.

Quora, on the other hand, provides…at least right now…a location for people to ask questions and receive expert answers.  And as we have said previously, the CVB / DMO needs to assert itself as the expert for their destination.

What better way to establish expertise than on a social networking site designed to highlight the real-world knowledge of people?

Is there a better social network for destinations?  A place where potential visitors ask you for your expertise about why they should visit.

That sounds like a strategic win to us.

Why You Should Not Use Quora

Because you are not ready for Quora.

And Quora is not ready for you.

…new users should read answers for the first two weeks before actually answering a question.

Heck, I am not convinced that I am ready, or understand, Quora yet.

Unlike Twitter, or Yahoo! Answers, there are rules with Quora.  Perhaps etiquette is the better word.  And a passionate group of users who are dedicated to preventing Quora from turning into the mess that Yahoo! Answers has become.

And frankly, we could use more etiquette on all of our social networks.

As Lucretia mentions in her post, new users should read answers for the first two weeks before actually answering a question.

Why should you wait two weeks?  For example, if you simply joined and immediately began answering questions, you could have taken the Twitter tactic of simply presenting yourself as a brand.  Quora wants answers from real people, not brands.

Unfortunately, our friends from the Atlanta CVB (among others) have taken this approach and it is painfully obvious that their answers are likely to be shinning rays of unyielding sunlight, rather than real, useful answers.

Case in point, their answer to an Atlanta airport question smacks of the expected, always happy, CVB response.

Not what Quora is for.

What You Should Do With Quora

Watch. Listen. Read.

Perhaps take a moment to truly think how Quora could benefit from your participation on the site, and how your strategy could integrate with the social Q & A site.

Try to resist the urge to dive in head first, or look upon this new social site as the answer to your social media marketing confusion.

Quora has the answers…just not that one…at least, not yet.

Comment? @travel2dot0 or email.