Twitter came first with their social network structure, based on thematic relations rather than the ones we know from LinkedIn, Facebook amongst others, which take-off on first or second level physical relations. The big problem with Twitter is that it takes a significant while before you find a group of skilled people that represent the topics you are interested in following. And to get value from Twitter you also need followers to establish a dialogue. This is also why so many people abandon Twitter before their second tweet, they just don’t get this new networking structure. Creating a new thematic network takes a lot of time, but when established, they can in many ways become more valuable than traditional relations - or even be so.
What I love about Quora is that it offers dynamic thematic relations, making the various networks so accessible, allowing you to jump directly into the stream of knowledge you need. You instantly get access to the entire crowd of topic specialists and questions, which could take months or years to establish on Twitter. Quora takes us from our social graph to a dynamic interest graph i.e. our relationship might only last a question.
This new thematic network structure will allow us to focus on the quality of our network, rather than the quantity of people we follow or have as “friends”. Value comes from a qualitative focus and design, which I hope and believe will be the future digital network structure.
Another beautiful feature is that you can follow and ask questions directly to a crowd of specialist, that are following a specific topic. In the good old online days (before Quora) that would have taken a lot of effort to achieve.
Quora now has to proof that the questions asked get answered rather fast, and that the quality is high. So a top priority for their community managers is to attract specialist to cultivate valuable conversations around the world of themes.
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