Is Quora the biggest blogging innovation in 10 years?

December 27, 2010 | Robert Scoble

I’ve now been blogging for 10 years. Looking back we haven’t seen all that much innovation for bloggers. You have a box. You type in it. Put an image into it. And hit publish. That’s much the same as the tools I had 10 years ago.

But now comes Quora.

I’m really loving it. I have a hard time explaining why. I’m not the only one, either.

VC Shervin Pishevar says “I believe @Quora is the future of blogging.”

Wow.

So what’s going on there?

First, look at the Quora items I’ve been participating in. This is a lot like a blog. But it’s not Dave Winer’s blog style. It’s any question I’ve followed, written in, voted up, etc.

So, what is the innovation here?

First, it learned from Twitter. Ask your users a question and they’ll answer it.

Second, they learned from Facebook. Build a news feed that brings new items to you.

Third, they learned from the best social networks. You follow people you like. But then they twisted it. You can follow topics. Or you can follow questions in addition to following people. This is great for new users who might not know anyone. They can follow topics.

Fourth, they learned from blogs about how to do great SEO. I’ve started seeing Quora show up on Google.

Fifth, they learned from FriendFeed, Digg, and other systems that let you vote up things. If you watch a question that has a lot of engagement you’ll even see votes roll in live. It’s very addictive.

Sixth, they brought the live “engagement display” that Google Wave had: it shows who is answering a question WHILE they are answering it.

Seventh, it has a great search engine for you to find things you are interested in.

Anyway, I find that there’s something addictive about participating over there instead of here on my blog. Why? Because when you see people voting up your answers or adding their own replies in real time it makes you realize there’s a good group of people reading your stuff. I don’t get that immediate rush here (here I have to wait for comments to show up, which isn’t nearly as immediate).

I notice that the same thing has me very excited about Instagram, too. When I look at other people’s photos I can see lots of people liking them and commenting on them in real time.

Will Quora kill blogging? No. Blogging has a business model for publishers that Quora does not provide yet (I don’t care about the business model so I’m free to go where the innovations are happening).

Thanks Quora for providing a great community and way for people to communicate about what’s interesting in their lives in a new way. That’s innovation in blogging.

By the way, even pro bloggers are using Quora. Today Techcrunch used Quora to find and report on Flickr in a new way (that isn’t the first time they’ve done that, either).

UPDATE: Mark Suster, VC, explains why he thinks Quora is significant.

This post originally appeared on Scobleizer on December 26, 2010.

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{ 3 comments }

Mike Handy December 28, 2010 at 1:37 pm

It sounds a little like the back end of tumblr to me, only users dont get to own the space?? I will check it out but I am not sold yet.

Elliott Lemenager December 28, 2010 at 12:14 pm

Great mention on instagram.com I’ve started using them about 3 weeks ago and I’ve keep on using them. Never really used my mobile device for pictures that often but with the instant feedback it’s pretty addicting and pushes me to keep photo-journaling

@Nakeva December 28, 2010 at 1:58 am

Robert, I can’t see Quora taking over blogging anytime soon if at all. The site is innovative for the reasons you point out, but I’m not that into it yet for whatever reason. Its a place of information and adding to thoughts on topics which is beneficial for research or content consumption. At first look, it appeared to be a dulled down version of Formspring mixed with Google or Yahoo Ask. After a little more time on the site it presents a different picture. The shift to users asking questions is even picked up by Facebook with far less interest, but people seem to like asking questions. Interesting in this pattern is most pro bloggers I read usually ask questions at the end of their blog space. Yet with this new shift, people would rather go to a separate site to ask AND answer questions. The information divide vs. the human need to know and receive response.

I have to take another look at Quora.

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