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Why Quora (Really) Is The Next Big Thing

January 13, 2011 Leave a comment

Last July I wrote a post covering Quora titled “Quora: A Social Wikipedia” in which I expressed my belief that Quora had a lot of potential, but was still rough around the edges and was suspect to the apparent randomness in which success is awarded in the online and social worlds. A little more than half a year later and Quora exploded into the mainstream since the end of December. Need more proof? Reports are now showing the existence of a Quora button right up alongside the familiar Facebook and Twitter buttons.

With all of this news about Quora becoming much bigger than the small Q&A site it was less than a year ago (nobody really knows how big it is now, since the usage statistics are kept private), it seems that Quora is making a push to be the next Twitter.

I’m not really sure how I feel about everyone saying Quora is becoming the next big thing. Yes, it has a needed service. Yes, it has the hype. But that’s my problem with it. I believe it’s becoming something bigger simply because of the hype, not because it’s providing a service that people actually want; rather, people will force themselves to want it in order to jump on the hype-train. Do I realize that this is how many things become big on the internet? Yes. Do I have a problem with it? Of course. While this may seem petty, at least let me explain myself.

Over-hyped websites, services, videos, songs, etc. that become mainstream so quickly have one fatal flaw: being super successful after so little time creates an atmosphere that says “keep doing this, and you’ll be awesome! Improvement is optional!” I tend to relate a lot of this to the Youtube generation (yes, my generation). Back in the day videos like Numa Numa and Star Wars Kid were making their initial splashes into viral video. In fact, they really helped make viral video what it is today. However, these two ‘celebrities’ failed to create much success for themselves after the initial ‘fifteen minutes of fame’. If you look at their other videos, they are really just the same thing over and over again, with small things changed. Even Numa Numa guy was in a Geico commercial that used the exact same formula¬†as his original hit, he even wore the exact same headphones and shirt.

Where am I going with this? I’m saying that hype that occurs because people not involved with providing the service, or video, or whatever is hype that doesn’t encourage adaptation and development. I’m sure the Quora founders are smart (fyi, they are…they, along with many employees are former employees of Facebook) and won’t just level off without improving their product, but I am allowed to worry. Quora hasn’t changed at all since I first joined six months ago, and while that doesn’t seem that far in the past, six months in the social world is an incredibly long time to not have a significant update to a new-ish website. With all of the media and attention they’ve been receiving the past few weeks, isn’t it safe to say that a huge influx of users and traffic, coupled with a website that hasn’t had to deal with traffic of that magnitude, might cause problems?

I wish all the best for Quora, because they definitely have the right idea…I am just hoping that they deserve the hype and media attention, as well as the influx of curious users who are joining just because they are told it’s cool. That’s what media does, tells the masses they should join something…but then what? It doesn’t tell them what to do, or how to optimize the service. My hat’s off to Quora and their recent success, I just hope it is able to continue.

Categories: Q&A, social media, social networking Tags:

Business E-Cards: The Natural Next Step?

October 26, 2010 Leave a comment

I may be completely out of touch and be posting about this way too late, but are business cards in the form of quick videos the next step? I’ve heard of video resumes before, but with the natural progression of business card becoming more socially oriented (check out these social media friendly business cards) this does seem like a very easy next step that should take off. What do you guys think? Check out the video below for Emma McKee’s video business card.

Anybody else think this is going to catch on? Because I think it will be huge in the coming months. The amount of content you can post in a 15 second video is limitless compared to what you can put on a physical business card. With internet capable phones and tablets becoming more mainstream, these cards are still “carried” around without being a physical copy. Not only is contact info easily displayable, but also how talented of a designer, videographer, visionary, photographer, etc you are all on your business “card.”

Any good ideas with what is capable in this new phenomenon?

Facebook Should Follow Twitter

September 14, 2010 Leave a comment

Twitter's new user homepage

Earlier today Twitter announced that they were on the verge of releasing an all new Twitter experience. If you’d like to read more about it go to Twitter’s homepage . In a nutshell this overhaul brings in features like tabbed browsing (through the feed, mentions, retweets, etc), videos and pictures directly in your feed, mini profiles, and more. It is a completely new way to Tweet, Follow, and is an incredible update that I predict, and in agreement with Mashable’s recent post on the subject, will make the website insanely more popular and easily monetized for businesses.

This is how you will view Twitter vids and pics in the feed...live.

That’s not what this post is about. This post is about how Facebook should “follow” (get it?) in Twitter’s footsteps about how to update/change a website layout, and functionality. Facebook has angered plenty of people with their somewhat frequent home page, profile, and news feed changes over the years…I myself have been very angry about this since Facebook hasn’t even perfected basic features on their site such as Search and Chat. Why update things without warning, angering your users (aka your monetary value), without fixing the things that actually need fixing?

Twitter is doing something extraordinary when you compare the process to Facebook’s lack of notifications, customer service habits, and apparent lack of hearing when it comes to user feedback. Twitter is slowly rolling out the new website in a preview mode that will allow all users to switch back and forth between the old and new sites at will. This will allow users to get accustomed to the features and layout of the new site at their own pace. Eventually everyone will only have access to the new site…but at least Twitter is doing what Facebook has never done, letting users know what’s happening well before it happens. Maybe they learned a few things from Facebook’s mistakes as well. It always sucks being the big man on campus when trying new things doesn’t it FB?

Groupon’s national Gap deal is only the beginning

August 19, 2010 Leave a comment

Today’s (August 20th) Groupon deal was the first time the group-buying coupon site has ever hooked up with a national chain for a deal. The site primarily teams with local retailers and businesses to give great discounts on a wide variety of products. The offer today is for $50 worth of goods from Gap for only $25, a %50 off sale on any products on the shelves. This is a great deal (for both consumers and Gap) for many reasons:

– Gap is a very popular store with great clothing for a cheaper price than a lot of stores in the same “genre” of clothing,
– It’s back to school season which means people need good clothes to look fresh for school, and Gap is cutting everything in-store to half-price, and
– Though Gap will be losing money on every purchase made, it’s a much better value than spending millions on a national television campaign that doesn’t result in thousands of sales.

Why is a deal like this so important to Groupon, national retailers, and consumers? Check out this article on Mashable about the overwhelming results of today’s deal. After reading that, start reading between the lines. A deal that gets hundreds of thousands of consumers committing to buying $25 worth of product in your store, not online, is worth the revenue loss. It’s an interactive national commercial that generates sales…a television commercial advertising a 50% discount is both expensive and will be ignored by millions of people who are too busy DVR-ing their shows to skip said commercial.

This is only the beginning because national retailers are going to start seeing the type of response Gap had with this Groupon deal…and are going to do this themselves. One company being successful isn’t enough to win just anyone over, but one or two more successful coupon deals like this and it will become all the rage. Groupon has no qualms against it because they aren’t the ones fronting the lost revenue…and national retailers are getting in-person exposure to hundreds of thousands of consumers going to their stores. Other than the lost revenue (which can be gained back from these consumers returning to the stores/new shoppers who are just taking advantage of the deal returning in the future) there is little downside to a successful campaign like this.

I would have taken advantage myself, but I was busy…though I can admit this is the first time I’ve ever been mad about missing a Groupon deal before. Keep it up Groupon!

Categories: social media Tags: ,

Foursquare’s Response to Facebook Places

August 19, 2010 Leave a comment

This is an interview with Foursquare’s Vice President of Mobile and Partnerships, Holger Luedorf. It covers Foursquare’s stance on where things may be going now that the world’s largest social network, and second largest website, has “stolen” Foursquare’s primary purpose and functionality.

A lot of people and companies in the geo-location/check-in service industry have wondered what the effect will be when a site like Facebook does finally integrate these features on their website. It’s an interesting interview that you should check out. What do you think will happen now that this has occurred? Video below:

Here we go: @Wildfire releases yet another fantastic product

Here we go: @Wildfire releases yet another fantastic product making social media easier for companies to utilize http://tinyurl.com/378d7kg

100% EPIC Literal Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows trailer

100% EPIC Literal Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Trailer Parody: http://tinyurl.com/26nu4sl