When you have a question about something, who do you generally go to for answers? Your peers. That is why Facebook is now beta testing Facebook Questions, an application that lets you ask the community of 500 million users a question about anything that’s on your mind. Although it’s still in testing and remains to be seen how many users will actually adopt it, it’s safe to say that the application has the potential to surpass Yahoo Answers with ease simply because of the large network of active users.
Using Facebook Questions is pretty easy to do. You can either ask a question to the full Faceboook community by clicking the “Ask a Question” button at the top of your homepage, or you can ask friends questions on their wall similar to how you’d post a comment on their wall. To enhance your question, you can add photos or polls. Although any Facebook user could easily figure out how to use the application, one thing to keep in mind while using the Questions application is that anything you ask is public and visible to anyone logged in to Facebook. For now, your questions and answers are not visible to search engines, but that could change once it’s out of the testing phase.
One feature of Facebook Questions is the ability to target the people that would best answer your question. You can tag questions for a specific category and your question will be shown to people who have expressed an interest in that category. For instance, if I wanted to find out which cars have the best gas mileage, I’d tag the question with the topic “cars.” People who expressed in their Facebook profile that cars are one of their interests would be shown the question.
Another feature of Facebook Questions is the ability to follow certain themes that interest you. If I decide that I’m not completely satisfied with the answers I received from my question about cars or I simply want more information, I can browse questions related to cars. If I find a question I’d like to continue to get more information about, I can click a “follow” button to make sure I’m sent a notification each time someone posts an answer.
With this new application, Facebook is harnessing its power as the leader in social media. When Facebook Questions is rolled out to the full community it’ll be interesting to see the adoption rate and how it compares to other question and answer sites.