Exploring Quora - the new social Q&A website that everyone is talking about

It’s been picking up a lot of buzz in recent weeks, so The Drum decided to take a look to find out exactly what Quora is, and why so many people have been talking about it.

Quora’s sudden popularity has sprung from a strong network of influential tech commentators and top level CEO’s using the site: Steve Case, co-founder and former chief executive of AOL and Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz are among those asking questions. Tech writers have claimed the site has become a valuable resource for story leads, in the same way that journalists have used Twitter as a source for ideas, stories and sources. Currently, the site’s content is significantly tech-heavy and will do little to appeal to users with broader interests. Short term challenges for Quora will be to attract users outside technology, media and social media sectors and keep content quality high while numbers increase.

Long term, Quora is likely to have to deal with a swath of incoming spam, which will test the site once it gains size and reputation, while downtime has already been recorded during the recent surge of new users. It will soon face strong competition in the UK and Europe when Facebook expands its Questions section in the Spring. Question-and-answer sites aren’t new; see the longstanding Yahoo Answers (200 million users) or WikiAnswers (81 million) but Quora differs in that it expects users to sign in with their real names – often via Facebook or Twitter plugins.

Amid the buzz, there are doubts that Quora will live up to its tag as the new Twitter. Writing on Social Media Guide Mashable, commentator VadimLavrusik said that after initial buzz drops, Quora’s growth is likely to be steady and organic and that the site may struggle to break past the technology and social media interest areas.

With a reported staff of just 12, Quora is in at the deep end thanks to some ambitious predictions and considerable online buzz over the New Year. The most immediate challenge of all for Quora’s founders will be to maintain the quality of user experience whilst handling a much larger user base in the coming months.

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