The buzzword of this year so far has been Quora. Quora, Quora, Quora. Either you’ve ignored it, you’ve been busy or you haven’t turned your computer back on since new year’s eve. Quora is a “continually improving collection of questions and answers created, edited, and organized by everyone who uses it. One way you can think of it is as a cache for the research that people do looking things up on the web and asking other people.”
Quora is what would happen if Twitter, LinkedIn, Wikipedia and Yahoo! Answers hook up and made a baby. Quora is referred to by some as a social network but I would argue that it is NOT– it’s an information network (which is why it’s no threat to Twitter or Facebook). Sure, you can follow people and they can follow you back, but the emphasis is on information which many argue is the missing piece of Twitter.
Quora isn’t new, it’s been around.
But wait, how can that be? I’m just now hearing of it and everyone’s just now talking about it! While that may be true, it came out of private beta a year ago and saw a Series A round of funding for $11M in March of last year. The truth is that it wasn’t chosen as a media darling back then, so it was a quiet community of power users, people that you wouldn’t expect to grace the pages of a website they didn’t own (CEOs, investors and the like). But here we are in 2011 and it’s all the rage.
Don’t go signing up quite yet…
From what you now know about Quora, you’ve signed up before finishing this article, haven’t you? I mean, a value proposition of a Realtor is information, right? So why not? Pump the breaks, buddy, there’s work to be done before you start being smarmy in the Quora community. I’ve personally been on Quora since October, but I only started answering questions this January. Why? Lurking. I wanted to know the community well before I linked all of my profiles to it or began answering questions. There are already agents there, but it’s mostly those involved in startups or that are in the Silicon Valley and it is natural that they’re part of the conversation.
We challenge you to be quiet for a month
I challenge everyone in real estate to approach Quora mindfully. Sign up for an account, but don’t link it to your other accounts yet and don’t start following everyone. Set yourself apart and actually study the space for a month. We challenge you to study the space for one month- don’t answer any questions, just follow questions and get to know the tone. “Now is the best time to buy” isn’t going to cut it because this isn’t Yahoo! Answers– it’s still a relatively intellectual community of tech-driven people that can see bullcrap from a mile away.
When you sign up, the first thing we want you to do is read “Welcome to Quora, do yourself a favor and slow down,” a Quora post by our friend Lucretia Pruitt. We believe it should be required reading of all Quora users and who knows, maybe some day it will be?
So for those of you not yet on the information network disguised as a social network, what are you going to do? Your challenge is to sign in and don’t answer anything for at least a month. Just read. Read as much as you possibly can and get to know the culture. You’re going to read Pruitt’s welcome note with instructions. Quora isn’t the wild west like Twitter was back in the day- there’s an existing culture and it will reject any agent who appears on the pages to spam them with sales pitches. Quora is not on a point system, so simply study the space, then be a resource, but most of all, just slow down!