How To Use Quora To Find and Share Information

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According to Wikipedia

Quora is an online knowledge market, founded in June 2009, launched in private beta in December 2009, and made available to the public on June 21, 2010. Quora aggregates questions and answers to many topics and allows users to collaborate on them. Quora was co-founded by Adam D’Angelo (Facebook‘s former CTO) and Charlie Cheever. In March, 2010 Quora received funding from Benchmark Capital, valuing the start-up at a rumored $86 million.

In essence, Quora is an online information market. People post questions, people give as well as receive answers. It’s a social network focusing on knowledge sharing. There’s a lot to this place and we’ll be talking all about it today.

Quora has been around for a while now. Since it’s inception in 2009 and public release around 6 months ago, much has been said about the power of Quora.

It’s also been used a lot, especially by a quite a few important people in the tech world and also various other fields, coming out and answering questions about themselves and their companies, professions, area of expertise and so on.

Professional bloggers are even using Quora to find information as well as leads. For instance, a recent article on Flickr was covered on TechCrunch this weekend with information sourced from Quora. Read that article here.

Why Quora

What sets Quora apart from other Social network and Q & A sites? There’s three reasons I can think of just off the top of my head.

1. You not only get to see and “Like” the profiles of experts in a field of your interest, you get to see them in action, providing their insights, opinions and advice. You don’t have to visit their personal blogs to hear what they’ve got to say!

2. You don’t have to follow people if you don’t want to. Find a topic of your choice? Simply follow that. Or better yet, you can follow even just an individual question and see where it goes. And also receive real time updates. This is fantastic to keep clutter levels really low.

3. Questions are not normally answered anonymously. Most people are logged in with their profile information, so the credibility of each answer posted is automatically ascertained.

Heard a lot about Quora but haven’t gotten around to trying it out yet? Well, read on and we’ll get you all set to go!

Getting Started

To begin with, navigating around the Quora interface can be a tad confusing. So we’ll take you step-by-step into how to get started.

Step 1: Create an account

You can use either your Facebook or Twitter account to get started. Alternatively, you can use your email as well.

Step 2: Set up your profile

Quora helps you find and follow friends from your Facebook and Twitter Networks. Skip this step if you like. Topics that might be of your interest are also suggested for you to follow.

On your profile page, you can add a headline about yourself describing your expertise.

Step 3: Choose topics to follow

You can find topics of your interest by simply searching for them. For instance, I like to keep up with information about Facebook, so I did a search for that:

The auto suggest feature shows me related topics. I chose the first one. Going into it, I found a variety of questions related to Facebook, and I have an option to follow it.

Once you choose a few topics to follow, questions from these show up on your home page under the “Browse” Tab.

You will also find Topic Suggestions right under the search box on your Home page.

Another way to find topics of interest is to check out what your friends are following. Most likely, you will find stuff of your choice there as well.

Follow these three steps to get started with Quora and gain from its rich user and information base.

Asking a Question

Using Quora, you can either post a question to an individual or to the community in general. We’ll take a look at how to do both.

The search box at the top of the Quora page also serves as a place to ask a question. So you just type it out there and add.

As you can see, the question I posted already exists, so I can just follow that instead. Great for avoiding duplicates. If you have a previously un-asked question, you can simply go ahead and ask it.

You can ask any individual a question, by simply going to their profile page on Quora.

For instance, Here’s Mark Zuckerberg’s profile, where anyone can ask him a question.

There’s no guarantee of receiving an answer though!

Answering a Question

You can answer any of the open questions listed under the “Answer” tab on the Home page.

You can also add answers to specific questions and topics that you are following.

Participate Without Answering

If you don’t feel like taking the plunge just yet and answering questions, you can choose to simply vote for the answers you find most useful.

You also have options to comment on an individual answer, thank the person for the answer, or give feedback if you find the answer less helpful.

So now you have all the basics you need to get started with Quora! Let us know what you think!

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