Friday, January 14, 2011

Quora: My answer's better than your answer

I got myself involved in answering a question on Quora: What is the best social media monitoring product?

Here's the answer I gave:

No single tool does it all or suits (every and all) business need.

This becomes even clearer when you add the global, multilingual dimension.

Being technology neutral is important if you are serious about delivering the best results for clients. No vendor (tool) supplies an all-language function.

It's also key to have local language experts in place in both the gathering-the-data and in the interpretation-and-analysis phases. Social media use and dominant sites vary massively from culture to culture.

Then it's all about who gets (delivered) that analysis, in which depts, with what responsibility.

No tool can deliver on creating strategic response from data. No tool makes the data actionable.
Without these the data has little value.

I'd respectfully suggest therefore that it's not a tool you are looking for, but a consultancy.

I would say that wouldn't I? So why have I copied my answer to paste it here? (image courtesy Caro's Lines)

Because, I guess, the drive to lowest common denominator on Quora is too great and the room for niche interest too little, at present.

Those who care about the criteria I value will judge my answer good. They are also the same folk who are likely to come by this blog - brought here by the kind of terms you'll find scattered through it.

Put at its simplest and rawest - my answer's better than your answer (I'm bound to think that because that's the reason I'm offering the answer - I think it's a damn good one). And that's likely the case for all of us driven to answer anything on Quora. We answer because we feel we have the experience and knowledge to answer it better than most. Otherwise we're risking our reputational necks. Or having a laugh.

Is this a problem or a strength for Quora? Time will tell. But the idea that a vote will reveal the best answer is clearly wrong when judged against the measure of the niche needs the internet can serve. The highest ranking is simply the one that gets the single largest group of support. But that does not mean it is the right answer for you.
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  1. David
    You post highlights the limit of a system driven purely by numbers/quantity (to measure influence, to rate something and so on, to evaluate success...). Quality is as important if not more. We live in a word of specialist. You can be an expert in one, may be two domains but not all. If 2 people who are experts in the domain vote for you answer but 100 who aren't experts vote for another one, still the most popular answer will win. I remember someone telling me how he became years ago a star member of a forum in just a couple of days: he spent 2 days answering questions on anything and accumulated points.

  2. LikedIn at least offers expertise. I still think it's a better place for getting answers. Oh, and check out for a monitoring tool. We like it.


The rate of change is so rapid it's difficult for one person to keep up to speed. Let's pool our thoughts, share our reactions and, who knows, even reach some shared conclusions worth arriving at?