Growing up, I was that little annoying kid who asked my parents too many questions.I was an experimental learner who was curious about everything; it must have driven them crazy.
After years of my tormenting, they finally bought me a book to shut me up.
It was called, The Big Book Of Tell Me Why. It answered a handful of the impossible questions I had, including: “How can you tell if a mushroom is poisonous or not?”
(The book didn’t have a good answer. It merely said, “When in doubt, don’t eat it”).
As someone who’s always been curious, it’s not too surprising that I’m now a tech reporter. It’s my job to track down answers to questions and dig up dirt for a living, because there are just some things that can’t be Googled.
But lately, a lot of the answers you can’t find on Google you can find on another site.
Google and Wikipedia are places to search for straight answers — recipes, research, biographies, how-to’s and more. But Quora, the smart Q&A site founded by Adam D’Angelo, is becoming a place for questions that are a little more abstract.
If you want to know what someone is thinking or feeling in any given situation, you can turn to Quora. Even an expert opinion from an otherwise hard to reach person can be tracked down in a matter of minutes.
On Quora, people have asked questions like, “What did it feel like to be inside the World Trade centre on September 11” and find an answer from someone who lived through the nightmare first hand. Another person asked what it feels like to have your sister die, and a young girl wrote up her excruciating experience in response.
It used to be a reporter’s job to find answers to tough questions. Now people are turning to Quora and finding the answers themselves.
Reporters are most useful for thoughtful analysis, industry expertise, and access to inaccessible people or information. While Quora doesn’t have breaking news and its answers might be more poorly written than a reporter’s, the startup is making all of those formerly inaccessible things readily available to the public.
On Quora, people are sharing their expert opinions, knowledge and unique experiences with anyone who’s curious enough to ask.
So kudos to Quora – it’s tackling a tough, abstract space very well.
I just hope it doesn’t get too good at its job, or I could be out of mine.
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