If you haven’t really gotten into social media — particularly Facebook and Twitter (“I don’t see the point of it”) — Quora might just be the social media platform that changes your mind. It’s definitely worth a look if you’re an existing small business operator, or thinking about running a small business.
Co-founded by two former Facebook employees in 2009, Quora is a Silicon Valley-based question-and-answer site edited and organised by its community of users.
Can It Be? A Social Networking Site with Useful Info?
Quora has become popular among the business community, in much the same way that Twitter has too, but with a greater focus on providing useful, engaging and worthwhile content by asking or answering questions. And, like Twitter and Facebook, Quora also allows users to follow each other. If you’re a budding entrepreneur, Quora also features a lot of content to do with venture pitching, angel investing and other entrepreneurial-related subjects.
But perhaps an online question-and-answer site moderated by the community-at-large sounds dubious. After all, it would be fair to ask, how can you validate the legitimacy of a user’s question or answer? Who’s to say people won’t just spam you with useless information?
After all, take a look at any of Quora’s question-and-answer site predecessors — Ask.com or Yahoo! Questions, for instance — and it’s a glimpse into the sheer stupidity of a great majority of Internet users, particularly those who frequent question-and-answer sites to provide decisively useless, if not iffy advice.
Quora differs from other question-and-answer sites. It even differs from online encyclopedia, Wikipedia, whose accuracy and validity has been heavily and frequently criticised by academics (as virtually anyone with a computer and access to the Internet can publish content on Wikipedia). Quora, however, demands transparency by requiring its users to sign up using their real name and email address.
Because Quora has a policy against direct commercial advertising, it may be the first true social networking site. And where Twitter and Facebook foster the frivolous, Quora fosters quality — even if it is just a question about the accuracy depicted in Showtime’s Homeland. For this reason, some companies are even using Quora to recruit talent, even if it is only at a small scale at present.
At the Australian Small Business Centre, we believe that interaction between entrepreneurs, particularly budding entrepreneurs, and the sharing of knowledge and ideas is very powerful.
In the coming weeks, we’ll be providing interviews and videos with successful entrepreneurs who began with small start-ups and went on to build successful businesses to provide you with tips and advice you need to start you own business.