How Did Quora Get So Popular So Fast?

By Sheldon Levine - Thursday, January 6th, 2011 at 7:31 am  

If you’ve had your ear to the social media ground (metaphorically speaking of course) lately, then you’ve undoubtedly heard about Quora. Just in case you haven’t, in the words of the creators, “Quora is a continually improving collection of questions and answers created, edited, and organized by everyone who uses it.” Basically, it’s a site for people to ask and answer questions on just about anything and is totally curated by the people who use it.

Quora was started in June of 2009 by the former CTO of Facebook. In December of 2009 they opened the doors for private beta testers to come in and play. On June 21st of 2010 the service officially became open to the public. If they opened to the public over six months ago, why is the popularity of the site suddenly jumping to incredible levels?

Using MAP, our social media monitoring and analytics platform, we looked at the buzz around Quora in social media from the day they went public to today. While we can see that there has always been some buzz around the Q&A site, the chatter really spiked in the past two weeks. Especially on Twitter.

One of the reasons we heard that might have caused this explosion was TechCrunch. Near the end of December the tech news site ran an article in which the author said that he uses Quora a lot to get story ideas. We found that this may actually be true. When we ran our buzzgraph analysis, which shows us words that are most used in conjunction with our search term, we actually find TechCrunch right in the center of the conversation.

Whatever the real reason may be for the boom in interest with Quora, one thing we can say for sure is that people seem to like it. Our sentiment analysis shows an 87% overall favourable rating in the conversation about the site.

Leave us a comment and let us know why you think Quora may have got so popular so fast. As well, do think it will stay popular or just become another social media flavour of the month?

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33 Responses to “How Did Quora Get So Popular So Fast?”

  1. Jamis Kramer says:

    So why doesn’t Google pay/buy TC to push its own social offering?

  2. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Avi Joseph, vaibhav, Social Media Lab and others. Social Media Lab said: How Did Quora Get So Popular So Fast? « Sysomos Blog http://bit.ly/i2S44Q #socialnetworking [...]

  3. Twitter chatter is one thing, but I’d like to know if more people are actually using Quora to interact with each other in a meaningful way…

    I know I’ve spent more time accepting new Follow requests, growing my social graph, and a bit more time looking at questions and answers, but I’d like to see some numbers related to the number of new questions, responses to questions, etc…

    Is this another example of everyone signing up for Second Life, appearing in the initial common area with hundreds of other newbies in a big pile, then never logging in again?

  4. Sheldon Levine says:

    David,

    That’s a good question that I’ve been wondering myself. I have a feeling that they hype may die down, but someone also mentioned to me that they might see Quora getting another spike at SXSWi.
    I guess only time will tell.

    Cheers,
    Sheldon, community manager for Sysomos

  5. Sheldon Levine says:

    UPDATE:

    It turns out that TechCrunch wondered the same thing about Quora and posted this just after I had finished writing this post: http://techcrunch.com/2011/01/05/quora-surge/

  6. PhilGo20 says:

    @David and Sheldon:

    Been using it quite a bit. Not so much an active contributor yet, but the quality of content, especially related to web stuff obviously, is truly amazing. If the quality of the community and the UX stays on, we might have a new champion for knowlege addicts.

  7. I was doing a bit of investigation on this due to a spike in Quora followers I was getting. I wanted to know not only how Quora could rise so fast, but what is it about the service that so effectively promotes connections? Here is another look at the rapid growth as it pertains to twitter conversations. http://trendistic.com/quora/_30-days

  8. Tom says:

    As a Sysomos customer, we are looking to do some conversation analysis within Quora. However, the official response was “not supported” — any insight to share there? Given it’s growing popularity, we’d hope Sysomos would include the content in it’s monitoring service. Thanks.

  9. Sheldon Levine says:

    Phil,

    I agree, Quora has great potential. There’s a huge buzz of people using it and talking about it now, but I wonder if that will keep up over time?

    Thanks for the comment.

  10. Sheldon Levine says:

    Tom,

    I can say that it is 100% on our radar and we’re looking into how we can integrate it into our system.

  11. Dan says:

    With authorisation for Quora through Twitter, suddenly lots of the people I follow there are starting to follow me on Quora (and vice versa). Surely that’s got to be some of the dynamic over the last few days.

    It’s coming from the ‘Follow People You May Know on Quora’ section on the right hand side and it’s just one follow after another. There’s now even a ‘Follow All’ – which for me will make me follow 36 people in one go. That’s a huge amount of follow spam.

    You CAN change the Quora settings so that your inbox isn’t inundated with Follow request.

    1. Go to http://www.quora.com/settings and log in (if you aren’t already)

    2. Select User related (View x settings)

    3. Un-tick ‘Someone starts following me’

    4. Click ‘Save’

    That’s it.

    Don’t forget to check back occasionally to see who else you can follow, but at least it sets you free from the Quora avalanche of follows – unless you like to feel important.

    (I’ll be reposting this comment on my blog)

  12. Sheldon Levine says:

    Thanks Dan!
    I actually already did that a few days ago as the amount of emails I was getting from Quora were hitting the ridiculous level.

    Cheers,
    Sheldon

  13. [...] Quora fuss about? In recent weeks Twitter’s been all a-flutter with mention of Quora, a question and answer site, started in June 2009, opened to the public a year later, and [...]

  14. Joey says:

    I think that quora will be just another social media fad and won’t get mainstream success or recognition. Similar to Google’s google wave causing a twitter sensation and excited Internet addicts, the rest of the world simply didn’t take notice when they had a perfectly functioning means of communicating through email. People will still rely on a good old google search to provide the answers they are looking for.

  15. Clement says:

    @Joey: Quora will probably stay on the niche market of tech enthusiasts and entreprneurs, I agree. But the true opportunity is underlined in you comment “People will still rely on a good old google search to provide the answers they are looking for”. I believe Quora’s answers will come up in SERP’s to these questions.

    eHow has this business model, they anticipate popular questions, answer them and drive trafic through Google.

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  19. [...] How Did Quora Get So Popular So Fast? « Sysomos Blog (tags: Quora) [...]

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  21. [...] wizardry to testing the source of such a boom – potential links to Techcrunch reviews explored here. It’s more likely that Quora’s instant success, at least in terms of user base growth, can be [...]

  22. [...] Sysomos analyzed all the Quora related buzz across blogs, forums, news and Twitter and found that the micro-blog has contributed significantly to the volume. [...]

  23. [...] que nos inspiran y de los que podemos aprender mucho. Este es un análisis de lo que he visto en un proyecto emergente llamado Quora que les recomiendo revisar. Quora es una colección resumida de conceptos de UI que supieron [...]

  24. [...] Sysomos s’est appliqué à répondre à la question à l’aide de ses outils de monitoring (voir ici) et attribue ce développement à l’influence de références très admiratives du projet [...]

  25. [...] que nos inspiran y de los que podemos aprender mucho. Este es un análisis de lo que he visto en un proyecto emergente llamado Quora que les recomiendo revisar. Quora es una colección resumida de conceptos de UI que supieron [...]

  26. namastek.com says:

    [...] que nos inspiran y de los que podemos aprender mucho. Este es un análisis de lo que he visto en un proyecto emergente llamado Quora que les recomiendo revisar. Quora es una colección resumida de conceptos de UI que supieron [...]

  27. [...] I wrote that post, Quora has exploded in popularity, something credited in part to the famous “Scoble effect” when tech evangelist [...]

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  29. [...] isn’t brand new. It’s actually been around since 2009, but it didn’t go fully public until mid- to late 2010. Judging from the sudden avalanche of news [...]

  30. [...] that window of Shiny Newness seems to have lasted perhaps 6-8 weeks, kicking off with the furious level of attention brought by the debate surrounding Scoble’s post, gaining steam thanks to a rash of positive [...]

  31. To be honest, I had never heard of Quora until now… It sounds a lot like Yahoo! Answers but I’ll definitely be checking it out. Also, I don’t think Google really considers Quora as a threat which is why they wouldn’t buy the site. Google+ as is will be more than enough to compete with other social media. By the way, I’m loving those diagrams, very informative!

  32. Arin says:

    I think the association of Quora founder with facebook gave the initial push & increased the Curiosity & later the techies maintained the flow because Quora gives easy solution to promote their work as well in a nice way

  33. Samir says:

    My guess is that Quora took stackoverflow’s excellent and hugely successful format of Q&A and made a general questions site out of it.

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