Some heads are about to explode.
There’s yet another social site catching on; it’s called Quora and it’s generating a ton of excitement.
Quora is opening up possibilities and opportunities that Twitter has only glimpsed. Twitter connects us to the world, yes, but Quora lets us exchange with that world in a way that’s prohibitive with 140 characters. And soon it’s going to play havoc with comfort levels.
Here’s my reasoning:
1. Facebook itself says it’s got about 500 million active users.
2. According to Wikipedia (don’t say it), Twitter has about 200 million users.
3. Therefore, 300 million people have resisted joining Twitter. That’s a lot of people in denial about the relevance of social media.
Don’t be fooled: it really is a resistance. How many of your Facebook friends are on Twitter? For me, it’s a significant minority. At a tech-related site I worked at not long ago, every one of the 150 employees was on Facebook … but only two of us had active Twitter accounts.
So what are those 148 other people going to think about Quora?
Besides being yet another site – another world – those people aren’t a part of, Quora and its imminent success are harbingers of how social media is going to marginalize people who’ve been accustomed to being full participants.
Think about your parents’ generation (or, if you’re not a Baby Boomer like me, think of your grandparents’ – sigh). If you’re old enough to have the memory, think about how hard it was for some folks to get used to bank machines. Those people still prefer doing their banking face-to-face with a teller and are offended by the ATMs and what they represent. Furthermore, their banking experiences are diminished because banks aren’t open as many hours and/or don’t have as many tellers as they used to.
The same thing is happening now but to a much younger group of people. I’ve already noticed customers using Twitter to complain they can’t get a prompt email response from a service provider … only to have that service provider see the Tweet and respond within seconds.
The way we live and do business is changing and Quora is a symptom. People are asking questions about everything and they’re getting answers. Helpful, insightful, change-at-the-speed-of-light answers.
My boyfriend is one of those people who doesn’t have a Twitter account. It’s doable. He’s also the kind of person that would really enjoy Quora – he reads all the time to inform himself – but I don’t know that he’ll bother. Will he be left out the way I’m suggesting?
Eventually, yes. Business models are changing because of social media and someday soon he’s going to be inconvenienced. Then he’ll bitch about it like a crotchety old man, which is when I’ll turn to Twitter to fix whatever was wrong and I’ll get to gloat and enjoy a moment of glory. And that will be enough motivation for him to come around.
If not, his head’s going to explode. I’m sure of it.