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I’ve now been blogging for 10 years. Looking back we haven’t seen all that much innovation for bloggers. You have a box.
I must apologize to Dave Winer . He warned me about supporting services that aren’t the open web and I wasn’t willing to listen to him a month ago, because I was infatuated with a cool new service that lots of insiders were supporting. I’ve seen a LOT of discussion about Quora in the past few weeks since I wrote it could be the biggest blogging innovation in the past decade.
Robert Scobleized Quora today. It was only a couple of weeks ago that I mentioned super-blogger Robert Scoble’s penchant for taking very strong positions on technology and startups and then reversing those decisions completely on a whim. I love him for his quick retreats. And I certainly admire a man who’s willing to rethink his opinion after weighing new evidence. But that’s not what Scoble did when he trashed Quora earlier today.
Early last month, we noted that Quora was doing something rather interesting. They were using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk to mass-create Twitter accounts. That may sound shady, but it really isn’t. They’re doing it as an alternative to RSS feeds. And Twitter is totally cool with it. Those feeds are now live and ready to roll.
Before co-founding Quora , the Q&A site that's become a beehive for the technorati, Charlie Cheever spent a lot of time wondering why it wasn't easier to answer those pesky questions that kept popping into his head. "I did this exercise," Cheever tells Fast Company , "I’d catch myself at every point in the day when I wanted to know something and I tried to imagine what life would be like if that information was available." His questions ranged from the practical (when is that restaurant open?) to the esoteric (why are parking spaces shaped like that?), yet despite a plethora of ways to share photos, status updates, and personal information on social networks there was a gaping hole where knowledge like that could reside and be shared.
Updated: If you’re a web service, especially a young startup, you want to get as many users as possible, right? But there are worse things than having a small number of users — particularly when the service you are offering depends on the quality of the content provided by those users. Quora, the red-hot Q&A site that has been growing at a dramatic rate over the past few months, finds itself in that position now: The site depends on high-quality answers, and has deliberately kept things small in order to cultivate a knowledgeable community. But can it keep those virtues when membership is exploding and not everyone wants to play by the rules?