Last week, Quora announced their new blogging platform for their site. From their press release:
Blogs on Quora are great for writers who don’t have an audience…
Blogs allow writers to share their knowledge and thoughts in a space that they control, without the structure of the questions-and-answers format but with the same potential for viral distribution and the same engagement through votes and comments.
Blogs on Quora are great for people who (1) don’t have a big, established online presence already and (2) don’t want to do the time-intensive, heavy lifting of marketing their blog and slowly building an audience. If you are a good writer but don’t have thousands of Twitter followers or a big audience for your blog, Quora is an ideal place to write. Your blog will be discovered quickly without you having to do any work besides writing. Writing one great post on Quora will attract a big audience, no matter how many people already know or follow you.
…and also for bloggers who have an audience but want to reach more people
On the other hand, if you are a blogger with an established blog and audience, Quora can provide you with more quality distribution from an audience who we know shares an interest in the topics you write about. Quora covers a wide range of topics — everything from movies, television, sports, food, technology, startups, career advice, parenting, children, U.S. politics, economics, and major news events. As a result, we have a built-in audience for just about any topic you write about.
Color me skeptical, they seem to have arrived late to the blogging game. WordPress has been around since 2003, which means they’re celebrating ten years this years. They have free and premium themes with many, many choices. Quora in contrast has
two choices for your blog’s design: a basic themeless view and our first blog theme, Loose Leaf. Loose Leaf has been built specifically for a great reading experience, with beautiful typography and a minimal layout. The new theme has been optimized for mobile browsing, and is readily visible inside Quora iPhone and Android apps (see below).
I think they should consider redirecting their efforts to a high school audience, get very specific with who they’re aiming at and build for them. Blogs have been around a while – I’ve been blogging on blogger (shameless plug: theindianinfluence.com) for almost three years now, and on this site for a year. I like what both services have to offer: choices in design, credibility in source, and the ability to track analytics. At their rate of development, Quora will likely announce the addition of analytics in 5-7 years.
Their big hook is the idea of a built-in audience, my experience with Quora is that everyone is talking, no one’s listening. And having a ready made audience is theoretically a good thing, but says nothing about writing and blogging as a craft. Wouldn’t you want to gain an audience because you have something to say, not just because you can say something?