I don’t like Quora.
As far as I can tell I stand alone in this sentiment. Every blogger this side of Silicon Valley has lined up behind Robert Scoble’s opinion that Quora is the future of blogging.
I am an unabashed fan of The Scobelizer. He is usually right, and much smarter than me. Most people are. And I understand some of the potential personal and business benefits of Quora.
But at the end of the day, any social platform has to connect with people in a consistent, meaningful way and on a personal level — even an emotional level. And the emotion I feel when I’m on Quora is anxiety. I’m not sure that’s the emotion they’re looking for. Why does this creep me out?
It’s already too crowded
When I first visited Quora (pre-buzz), I thought it was a breath of fresh air. It was so empty and wonderful! I could connect to some good conversations, contribute, follow along, and learn a few things.
The next time I visited, I had 380 followers. Huh? And 20 messages in my inbox, most of them crap from people I never heard of before — the Quora equivalent of an automatic direct message. But wait there’s more. I also had five notifications and “241 items related to you.” WTF?
Look I don’t need that in my life. I don’t need more freaking messages, notifications and items. I’m happy to answer a few questions to help people. Then leave me alone.
I already have too much to read.
Many popular questions have 10, 20, maybe even 50 answers. Long answers. Who has time for that? On a daily basis? ZZZzzz.
It’s too disorganized
There is already such a flood of questions that the site is a jumbled mess. People are asking the same questions over and over and over. There is no good way to sort through the goo to find something worthwhile.
Big buzz, little value.
So I’ve answered a few questions. I like answering questions because it makes me feel useful. One question I noticed was, “What makes a Twitter snob?” Now there’s a subject right up my alley! So I answered it and included links to my blog post, and Mitch Joel’s post which were directly relevant to this question. Apparently these links served as a red flag for the Quora gestapo who “collapsed” (erased) my answer. What a great way to build loyalty.
If you really want great answers to your questions without all the Quora flubber, join some LinkedIn groups related to your industry. With 600,000 varieties, you should be able to find a few you like. I’m constantly floored by the experts in those groups who give quality spam-free advice. Without collapsing answers.
A new channel for spam
Poor little Quora. It’s already like a little guppy in an oil spill gasping for breath. The spammers, SEO playas, and back-link re-sellers are probably circling like vultures. How to keep them out? I’m sure people will soon be selling us ways to build “massive traffic on Quora!!”
Obviously there is value to sharing information on Quora. I mean, how can you argue with that? There have already been a dozen posts written about the business benefits. If you have the time. If you have the energy. If you have the resources to respond to your 241 items.
But I’m a teacher, blogger, and consultant. When somebody asks me a question about Quora I better be ready to answer from a place of experience. So for better or worse I’m going to stick around and hope they develop an option for “I’m just here to visit, please don’t send me items.” And heck, let’s hope Quora can address some of these issues and make it. I always cheer for the guppy.
Look, I’m sure you have a much better bead on this platform than me. Have you tried it? What do you think? Am I missing the boat?