More-a about Quora

I first wrote about the social question and answer site Quora last June – I mention this to point out that I am considerably dorkier than you.

Anyways, something has made Quora very, very popular in the last week. This has manifested itself in the form of huge numbers of notification emails being sent out to users as new accounts are opened and people exercise their option to automatically add Twitter connections and email contacts to their Quora lists.

(Paul Clarke covers this issue nicely on his blog.)

Since signing up last summer though, I’ve done precious little on Quora. All the fuss made me go back and have a bit of a play.

I started out by asking the question How could Quora be used in UK local government? just to get started, and created a topic (like a folder or category) to put it in, which hopefully others will use too.

The creation of the topic is an interesting example of how Quora works – it’s all very collaborative. My original topic was called localgovuk which probably wasn’t terribly descriptive. So somebody came along and changed it, to Local government in the UK which makes much more sense!

Three people responded to the question (thanks, Noel, Benjamin and Andy!) so do go and have a look at what they said.

I think the potential use falls into two categories: firstly the use of Quora as a knowledge (and ignorance!) sharing tool for folk working in public services delivery; and secondly as a way for citizens to ask questions about what the public sector are doing.

However, while I have been trying to remember to check back into Quora to see what’s happening, it is yet to obviously stake its space in my workflow. It’s an effort to go there and use it, and until it finds a way of becoming part of my routine it will struggle I think.

Also, there’s too much of it. I think it needs better filters, because it is often too hard to find things and also it’s a real time sink – you can spend hours there without doing anything particularly productive – and I already have Twitter for that.

I’d be interested in the views of others who have used it. Is it a real game changer? I’m a skeptic right now.

Update: The FCO’s Jimmy Leach blogs his view on whether government interaction with Quora is necessary.

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Dave Briggs

I'm Head of Digital and Design at Adur and Worthing Councils.