Time for a confession: I’m a Quora sceptic. There’s nothing specific about the service itself that’s causing this – I’ve barely used it so far – but the way both it and people around it are behaving suggests to me that we have a flash in the pan here.
First of all, my in-box is full of Quora spam. Several people have pointed out to me that the service is replete with granular e-mail notification settings, which is great, but the fact that the defaults are so, well, spammy, just sets my alarm bells ringing. Here’s what happens: someone signs up for Quora, adds their Twitter list, and every single person on their Twitter list who is on Quora with default e-mail settings gets an e-mail. With a couple of dozen people who follow me on Twitter joining Quora every day, that’s a lot of spam. Dumb.
Also, my gut feeling, as I’ve blogged before, is that the Next Big Thing, whatever it turns out to be, won’t be this hyped. And Quora is really hyped right now. Every previous Next Big Thing, from blogging, through Flickr, Twitter, Facebook and more has gone through an extended period of quiet use by a small, but steadily growing pool of users and evangelists, before the real mainstream growth kicks in. I’ve never seen a major Next Big Thing on the web go from zero to hero in about 10 days.
I’m putting Quora down and walking away. If it’s still looking useful in a month’s time, I’ll re-evaluate. But I’m not keen to waste time on the Next Flash In The Pan.