When it comes to ‘the next big thing’ in social networking sites – yes, we’ve been here before. And yet, it’s a fair enough question when you consider how Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have overshadowed – or even eclipsed – the likes of MySpace, Bebo and a dozen other lesser lights.
Now we’re being invited to taste ‘Quora’. By all accounts, the timing of its launch was impeccable and PR people in certain quarters are confident it will succeed. Quora allows users to ask any number of questions – and it will, allegedly, answer questions posted by others.
So far, so good.
For anyone in PR (client or agency-side), however, you should know that brands and companies are dissected, analysed, appraised and generally put through the shredder of approvability. But hey, isn’t that a large part of what social media is all about anyway?
‘Early adopters’ have given Quora their stamp of approval, but it’s early days and there are plenty of sceptics around who want to see if Quora can carve a niche that’s big enough to differentiate it from the rest and allow it to go mainstream.
We’re talking here about sites such as Yahoo!Answers, Ask.com and WikiAnswers which already have respective slices of the market. Can Quora demonstrate truly broad appeal, and will it have real practical value?
Maybe the best short-term hope for Quora will be to establish a niche that will be complementary to the likes of Twitter et al. Quora harnesses the thoughts of what is potentially a wide audience to provide users with informed opinions from anyone with something worthwhile to say.
Whether these facts are treated as gospel, and whether the potential lack of accuracy will turn people off remains to be seen. Quora’s audience will judge it on the quality of its answers, and although the Q & A concept isn’t new, to wonder if a new force has emerged in social networking is still premature.