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Quora has had a recent burst of new users and activity. Someone asked the question of what cities are on Quora and so far it looks like just Oklahoma City.

 

Should cities start using this platform - or is that just too much? Are they better off sticking with larger platforms like Facebook and Twitter to respond to citizen questions/comments?

Tags: Oklahoma City, Quora, gov20, social media

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What is Quora?
It's a social network based on asking questions and getting answers to your questions. You also have the ability to comment on answers and vote answers up/down - go to http://www.quora.com/ to check it out.
Quora is a collection of questions and answers created, edited, and organized by everyone who uses it. The main goal is to be the best possible resource for someone who wants to know about each question.
My sense - it's still super early with Quora.    Personally, I think there is still room to focus on doing a great (not just okay) job on larger platforms like Facebook/email/traditional web.  But a little fun playing with is always promoted
Quora is perhaps a fun diversion, but first check out how many gov folks signed up for Formspring and are inactive there. And think about Google Buzz. And then think about how many cities and govs actively answer questions on Facebook pages - I suspect it's less than 3 percent. First things first.
I think we're still feeling out what Quora can do. The problem is that with Quora, we don't get to ask our questions - we have to wait on somebody to ask them. I've answered some questions on unemployment, but I don't think the average person would check Quora to find those answers anyway.
The City of OKC jumped on Quora this morning and signed up to a.) get a feel for how many local users were active and b.) to ask the question to those users: "would Quora be a beneficial platform for the City to use to answer questions about City services?"

However, I was just contacted by Quroa admins to change the name from "The City of OKC" to an actual name. So, looks like I will be pulling the plug on the Quroa test and wait to see where it goes.

If Quora continues to grow, I can see the benefit for citizens to have their municipality at least monitor topics. Like most new concepts, we'll just have to wait and see.
Wow, way for Quora to shoot itself in the foot! And Zach, I'm always impressed with OKC's willingness to experiment. I'm just getting WAY too much Quora love in my Twitter stream, and I'm turning into an Angry Old Man of Social Media again.
I appreciate it. We try to do the best we can and stay on top of new tech with our limited resources. As for Quora, hopefully, if their model is successful, they'll see the benefit of allowing Govs to have active accounts. If not, there will be other, more inclusive solutions to be a part of.
Though they are shooting themselves in the foot, it does help prevent companies from joining the network. Personally, and from experience people truly like seeing a person over a brand speaking anyway. I get a much greater response rate on my professional Twitter account apposed to my branded one, and both generally are producing the same info. Could just be me though.

@Heather - What kind of safeguards are there to ensure that people are getting quality answers?  It seems to me that Quora - as it is now implemented - could easily promulgate false or misleading information rather quickly. 

 

This is not to say it isn't a good idea.  But, as an experience at OPM has taught me, you really need a good quality control system for a crowdsourced Q&A system.

No safeguards really. Certain questions can only be answered by the person being asked (as the authority on themselves), but other than that it is a free for all, with users voting answers up and down (crowdsourcing).

Seems like an opportunity for government to have a presence and be the authority for quality answers on certain topics that are relevant to their agency or location.

 

Of course, I'm not for jumping on every new tool, just cause it's new and shiny. It should fit within your overall communications strategy and meet the needs of your audience. If it's just for trial, make users aware of that.

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