Social Q&A’s are on the rise: however, one story that could have gone unnoticed today included the acquisition of one of these Q&A sites by microblogging giant Twitter.
It’s been a while since the last time I blogged (thanks to my uni,work,etc. etc.). In the meantime, many important things happened in the Web 2.0 world, which I am not to cover (although, I enjoyed the Wikileaks story)!
What captured my attention today was a nice story on Techcrunch about Fluther. Well, Fluther appears to be one of Quora‘s major rivals in the social Q&A sector, which was “acquired” by Twitter – where “acquired” means some kind of integration of the product into Twitter, so that the latter can probably provide a Q&A section later in the future. To help people, who are not familiar with the field, understand what social Q&A’s are, think of large crowd – sourced websites which help people get the answers they need in their personalized questions. Apart from Quora and Fluther, one of the most well – known examples is Yahoo Answers. What differentiates this kind of Q&A with Wikipedia’s approach is that knowledge is created according to individuals’ needs, rather than by contributions to a huge pool of knowledge (which is the way wikis work in general).
This leads the battle into another field. Although Quora is at the moment more powerful than Fluther (and Aardvark as well), having a social Q&A integrated into one of the leading microblogging social media is changing the way we ask questions and, even more important, the way we get answers. And if this is an interesting change, another one follows – how long will it take for Fluther (or other Q&A social-media-integrated sites) to even surpass Wikipedia? I know that the wiki model is still prevailing, since people can contribute anonymously to a large pool of knowledge, but social Q&A’s personalize knowledge and even create roles within their small societies (i.e. experts, which subsequently leads other people to contribute more in order to increase status). Moreover, having such a function readily available in a convenient location (your Twitter account) will boost usage even more.
Perhaps the best explanation comes from Fluther’s CEO, Ben Finkel: “Search is overly mature. People want to interact with other people. Ultimately, it is still a hard problem because you are connecting people who don’t know each other. It is still a huge, wide-open space.” Mark the bold words ladies and gentlemen – the battle in the social Q&A sector has just begun.
P.S.: I visited Fluther’s website to check it out (as a Quora user, I wanted to know what the competition has to offer me). What I liked most is its Social Section: guidelines here are less strict, since these are the answers where you can express your own views on a subject. But still, I think this is the case with every single answer on Quora (where people put their 2 cents in every subject). What do you think – should we give Fluther a chance?