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Quora "aims to be the easiest place to write new content & share content from The Web"

Stashed in: User Generated Content, Tumblr!, Facebook!, The Web, Social Media, Blogs!, Awesome, Writing!, Content is king.

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Adam D'Angelo said earlier this week, "We decided it was best for Charlie to step away from his day-to-day role at the company."

Users immediately called out D’Angelo for his use of PR speak and, specifically, his “we decided” language:

The first commenter’s post received more upvotes than D’Angelo’s answer itself, having stated that: “If you can’t give a transparent, honest answer, please just say so – it’s totally understandable. But there’s a weird hypocrisy about encouraging Quora to be a place where this type of response is frowned upon and then giving one yourself.”

I scratch my head because I agree with the first commenter -- Quora could have and should have given a better answer.

Which makes me wonder what Quora actually is. A place for self-promotion?

The part of the SocialTimes article I most reacted to is Quora thinking it is the "easiest place to write new content" for The Web.

I don't think of Quora that way at all.

Does anyone?

I wouldn't say they've achieved being the "easiest place to write new content", but I can see that being their aim.

There are plenty of triggers to help people start writing, such as open/active questions. It's easy to write and revise. You get quick feedback of all sorts, from social-grooming-ticks to suggested compositional revisions. You get enough of the right sort of audience to discuss. (Other forums can deliver too many or too few participants.) Moderation systems have investment and attention, so there's a minimum of blatant spam or other abuse. They have nice notification systems for nudging return visits.

And, they seem to be on a slow and steady growth curve, constantly testing new features, but with no "traffic at all costs, deploy anything that supercharges growth" attitude.

The SocialTimes article is a nice summary of Quora critique. (Well, it leaves out any digs at the 'credits' system.) I agree with a bunch of it. But Quora still has many strengths and lots of runway. Slow-and-steady-to-quality makes a lot of sense in this category. Anyone writing them off or calling a downtrend seems premature... unless Quora has already blown all the money they raised on coke and hookers, which seems unlikely.

If they want to be the easiest place to write new content, then they're competing with blogs like WordPress and Tumblr.

WordPress is powerful but it is not easy to use.

Tumblr is easy to use but favors images over writing.

I do wonder how big the market for writing new content is. I also wonder why no one is competing with Quora.

I'd only say those are easier for a narrower definition of 'easy', focused just on the act of writing/publishing.

But when faced with the blank posting area of a blogging tool, what do you write? And if it's just something random from your own interests/experiences, will anyone ever see it and react? (Few write for purely private enjoyment.)

A menu of open questions gives you many ready options for topics. And you know that the asker and other followers will read your writing, and perhaps even give tangible feedback. That creates more 'ease' in dimensions that WordPress and Tumblr only tangentially address (assuming you drum up your own audience).

So it's not just gestures-or-time-to-having-your-writing-at-an-URL that matters, it's effort-or-time-to-getting-a-reaction-from-people-who-matter-to-you. That's where Quora (and StackOverflow and Facebook and sometimes Twitter) as a matcher/distributor kills it over the 'easiest' pure-publishing tools.

Well, PandaWhale is competing with Quora in some sense with those stashes and new posts and stuff like that :)

Not really, Rajan.

Quora is all about establishing expertise and downvoting people who give "unexpert" answers.

PandaWhale is about finding awesome things and talking about them. We have no down votes.

Gordon, I like your answer but Facebook and Twitter seem a lot easier than Quora for publishing.

I'd say that Facebook wants to be the easiest place to write new content and share content from The Web.

I still think of Quora as a place to promote oneself, build an audience, and demonstrate expertise to the world.

Best place for experts and/or aspiring experts to write new content on people, places, and things they know about. E.g. Police, movie stars, weapons experts, video game designers, educators and EdTech makers, policy makers and relationship gurus.

I enjoy Quora, because I enjoy reading what the experts have to say on a variety of topics.

I believe Quora is absolutely one of the most effective ways in the world to find and communicate with an expert in many different fields.

PS, I first was introduced to the Panda himself, after reading an extraordinary response on Quora -- and messaging him using the platform.

I'm not sure how many folks use it like me, but seeing someone's long-form writing is an oil painting into their psyche and to how they think; it's more indexable and much faster than video, and more easily stashed.

So is Quora really better than blogging for someone who wants to write?

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