Quora: YOUR Questions, Answered by YOUR Peers

You may have heard the buzz about Quora.  Some are saying it will overtake Twitter.  Some use it as their source for getting questions answered quickly.  Some use it as an online community to browse topics that interest them.

Quora really is becoming more popular every day.  It’s a collection of questions and answers created, edited, and organized by everyone who uses it. Quora is very easy to register for, and you can link it to your Twitter or Facebook account, allowing you to integrate your social networks.  You simply enter your name, email and a password and you’re registered. The first step is to build “your feed” on topics that interest you. You can search for questions in the search box at the top of the homepage, or browse questions that have been asked.   All the questions are organized as topics, so organizing your feed is easy.

Users vote on the answers provided, which serves as a filtering tool, bringing the most voted answers to the top of the pile.  Quora’s goal is to give you the best information for your question.

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As with a wiki, Quora lets you edit entries. However, unlike Yahoo! Answers, on Quora, answers are required to include the users’ credentials, for example, their  full name, qualifications, an excerpt from a legitimate interview, or a source.  If a user likes a particular answer, they can then follow the person who posted it, just like they would on Twitter. Quora even allows users to follow the question’s topic.

The topics you choose to follow, which is part of your setup process, will inform the types of questions and answers that fill your feed.  If you spot something else you’re interested in, you can follow it. If you’re tired of a topic you were once interested in, you can unfollow it.  Quora adapts to your interests, and your interests inform the questions and answers that are delivered to your feed.

So, after you get registered and update your bio, take a look at the question, “How do I get started using Quora?”  You can search for this question in the search box.  There are great tips offered here to help you get a feel for the site and how to post questions and answers.

One of the most important things to remember about using Quora:

“It’s a site that already has a very active community. It’s a site that has its own rules (no, you don’t get to sign up with a fake name or a brand name.) It’s a site that has a method for keeping the signal-to-noise ratio pretty good (people vote, edit, & moderate here) – but that relies upon people… and people get annoyed when you don’t respect their communities.” – an experienced user on Quora

So, here are a few tips to keep in mind before you begin posting questions and answers on Quora.  First, if you want to comment on an answer or even reply to the user who posted the question, don’t post an answer.  There is a specific link to send a comment, and users will appreciate if you don’t post your reply as an answer.

When you’re ready to post a question, remember these best practices:

– Don’t make assumptions with your questions – be thorough and explain what you mean.
– Don’t ask extremely broad questions because people simply won’t respond.
– Do your research before you post a question.  People using Quora want to keep the site organzied and efficient.  Be sure your question hasn’t already been asked simply by searching in the search box before you post.

When you’re ready to answer a question, remember these best practices:

– Remember, this site is a resource.  Your answer should add value and knowledge to the post.  Do not self-promote, pitch or sell your service/product.
– There are moderators, so don’t use Quora just to get links to your site.  You could be banned for these actitivies.

Go ahead and create your Quora account.  Take some time to read the questions and answers, and get a feel for the site.  Then, jump in – share your expertise on topics, post your questions and begin another networking opportunity via social networks.

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