5 Reasons Why Quora Will Miss the Mainstream

25 01 2011

Robert Scoble; American blogger at Scobleizer, technical evangelist, and author, wrote on Boxing Day a post entitled ‘Is Quora the biggest blogging innovation in 10 years?’

PC Magazine, Techcrunch, TNW and FastCompany echoed the sentiment and the UK’s conservative ‘Daily Telegraph’ brought in the new year with an article entitled ‘Quora will be Bigger than Twitter’.  I think they may be wide of the mark and here are 5 reasons why:

1.  It lacks ‘new-ness’ There isn’t anything in the content that is radically new.  Yahoo Answers provides a Q&A format with voting up and down.  Twitter provides interaction and Wikipedia provides information.

2. It’s Not a Network You don’t really have a community around Quora.  The Follower/Following numbers on your profile lack any real relevance.  Because usually they are built around pre-existing networks on Facebook or Twitter the follower totals aren’t evidence of an authentic Quora based network.

3. There Aren’t Many Girls In fact the demographic so far is very, very narrow.  It’s skews male, 25-34 and educated to graduate level.  It’s also high income and exceptionally white.  You can’t be mainstream if you don’t appeal to everyone.  At the moment it is geeky and the audience is pretty much the same as Slashdot.

4.  It lacks Serendipity With Twitter and Facebook you see a lot of things that you don’t expect to.  The structure whereby you follow topics means that you see on Quora pretty much what you expect to see and it’s a bit dull. There I’ve said it.

5. It’s Really, Really Hard to be Mainstream How many mainstream social networks are there versus the number that tried and failed?  If Google struggles then it’s clearly a tough task.

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