Quora seems to be blowing up since the beginning of 2011, but it’s still early-stage enough to benefit you as a professional since you now have the attention of a small group of professionals with expertise in your area of interest.
Here are my recommendations on Quora adoption for professionals (based on my usage). If you’ve used it any differently, feel free to comment:
- Stage 1: Follow topics of professional interest:
Much like the first step in social media adoption, stage 1 is always to “Listen”. Quora helps you find and follow your topics of interest through connections you already follow (hence the Facebook connect integration; asking you to suggest topics of interest to your friends on Quora is yet another hat tip to a Facebook innovation – making introductions to friends).
To this end, Quora has a well tuned “Trending Topics” module that does a great job of surfacing content and people you may know. I suspect this may be responsible for the sudden spike in people following you on Quora these days.
As a professional, the easiest way for you to benefit from Quora would be to start following your current area of expertise (your job), whatever it may be. The easiest approximation would be to find on Quora, specialties you’ve listed on your LinkedIn profile (Disclosure: I work at LinkedIn)
As, my colleague, Russell Jurney suggested:
I’d really like it if Quora extracted my expertise from on any topic from my LinkedIn profile. Short of that, OAuth me in from LinkedIn. #in.
- Stage 2: Follow your colleagues on Quora:
You may find your future mentor on Quora, but to get there you’d want to first follow people you work with.
Since it currently lacks a LinkedIn integration, I’d recommend you finding your peers through the “Invite Contacts” icon that you find on the right side of the Quora homepage.
- Stage 3: Follow breaking news in your field of expertise:
While stumbling upon threads of interest, don’t forget to check out the tags highlighted on top of the thread. It’s a great way to stumble upon and follow breaking news topics in your field of interest.
For e.g. I stumbled upon this thread on the Goldman Sachs Facebook investment via Dave McClure and then with a simple mouseover gesture was able to follow that breaking news topic: Goldman Sachs Investment in Facebook (2011).
- Stage 4: Break news in your field of expertise:
Quora also makes bloggers out of professionals – any professional – who’d like to document their expertise on the web, but in a light-weight way. In that respect, it’s kind of like an extension to your LinkedIn profile / resume.
While, answering questions on quora don’t forget to tag individuals you’ve worked with or link to similar questions or topics . All you’ve to do is hit @ and it gives you an auto-fill drop down of topics, questions, people you can select from.
Also, Quora is good at surfacing your unique exploits at work that don’t necessarily translate well into a resume. These are tips and tricks that’ll be helfpul to your peers when they’re working on similar projects. Think of it as building professional capital / karma. Take these questions for e.g.
- Stage 5: Ask a question:
This is probably the most advanced stage of Quora adoption – one that I haven’t gotten to yet. But, the good news is you can get a ton from quora without ever asking a question. See stages 1 through 4.
This is how I’m using Quora professionally and am now at a point where I feel compelled to check it every day. Do you use Quora as a news source or do you use it professionally?