If you haven’t heard of Quora yet, chances are you will soon. The latest trend in online social networking, Quora is a Q&A platform that began in 2009 and was made public in early 2010. Similar to Yahoo! Answers, Quora allows users to ask, answer, or edit questions on a wide variety of topics. Users can also invite someone who is not on the platform to answer a question, as well as share questions on Twitter or Facebook.
Mashable recently featured an elaborate infographic about Quora from KISSmetrics, a web analytics company. According to their research, the platform grew an astounding 37,000 percent between January 2010 and January 2011. As of January 2011, Quora had over 547,000 registered users, with approximately 160,000 of them active users. In February 2011, Quora had an estimated 283,500 unique visitors, and that number is expected to continue to grow.
Recently, the company was valued at $86 million. Almost even more significantly, in February, search giant Google announced it was integrating information from Quora (in addition to Flickr and Twitter) throughout the search engine, with the results appearing “blended” throughout each search page rather separate from other content and at the bottom.
At the time this blog was written, under the Law category, there were 409 open questions, with questions such as “How long will a DWI conviction stay on your record in Texas?”, “What is Native American Law?”, and “If a person wrongfully charged for a crime by the state is taken to court and found not guilty, is the government obligated to compensate the defendant for their time, emotional stress, and attorney fees?” (It should be noted that attorneys and doctors are able to attach a legal disclaimer to their answers to legal and medical questions on Quora.) There were 32 open questions under the “Law Firms” category, with questions such as, “Who is the best startup lawyer in Silicon Valley?”
It is also important to note that the Twitter account for Quora regularly tweets links to interesting questions that have been asked on the platform, in addition to sharing intriguing answers. These actions further widen the potential reach a thoughtful, relevant question and/or answer can have through social networking.
While the amount of time and effort an attorney could spend on Quora may yield little results relating to things such as new clients, there is an opportunity to gain followers while building a strong online reputation. Attorneys may find it helpful to share questions and/or their responses to questions on Quora with their audience on Twitter and Facebook as well, and engage with users there. In conclusion, Quora provides attorneys with an opportunity to connect with not only others within the legal community but with people looking for help, which ultimately is what the legal profession is all about.