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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6 responses

25 01 2011
Tweets that mention 5 Reasons Why Quora Will Miss the Mainstream « PR and the Social Web -- Topsy.com

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Rob Brown, PR & The Social Web. PR & The Social Web said: 5 Reasons Why Quora Will Miss the Mainstream: Robert Scoble; American blogger at Scobleizer, technical evangeli… http://bit.ly/hWDFCF […]

25 01 2011
Andrew

Nailed it. I’ve been saying this exact same thing for a few months now, just not as concisely. I think another problem with Quora is that to really make a dent, you need to impress people; you need insightful opinion; and you need to be original. Obviously, this is all easier said than done and most people (the mainstream) don’t have it in them to constantly provide profound insight. It’s tiring just thinking about trying to write thought-provoking content, all the time. Again – no appeal to the masses.

Nice post!

Andrew

31 01 2011
Why Quora will be a slow burner success | Max Tatton Blog

[…] Quora has more potential, and many agree. However, there are a good number of people out there who think it’ll never expand its appeal beyond the small group of techies who are currently singing its […]

31 01 2011
Maximilian Tatton-Brown

Your post inspired me to put my thoughts down on why Quora will end up being a big mainstream success- for that I thank you ;)

http://j.mp/gaWZSE

31 01 2011
Rob

Debate is always healthy. It may be successful long term but it won’t be mainstream in the way that much of the hype has suggested. Qs&As is just too niche an activity. It also doesn’t tap into specialist knowledge in the way that Stack Overflow does.

31 01 2011
James Crawford

Quora has gone through the hype cycle faster than any other website I can think of.

I personally like Quora, and used it before Scoble blew it wide open.

OK, so it’s not new but Yahoo Answers is full of dribbling fools, so the quality is higher.

I’d also argue Quora is a network, i.e. a network of people I know or trust. I follow a much smaller audience than I do on Twitter, and this is because I don’t want my timeline to be spammed.

Quora also has serendipity because when someone you follow votes up an answer it shows in your feed. This leads to me discovering the x, y and z.

That being said, I agree that it will never be mainstream. This is one site that I want to remain elitist.

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