“Is there a public shower on or near Castro St.?” A friend of mine asked on Quora. Lets be honest, totally silly question despite his personal quest for hygiene. But this Quora thing… it must be good only for random information and spurts of “How does it feel to be X?” Right? Regardless, I jumped on the train because some of my “hip” early adopter friends recommended it. In the beginning I followed your standard topics, Silicon Valley, San Francisco, Yosemite hiking, etc. but never took it very seriously. Down the road however, I started to see Quora as not only a place to read great information from established professionals but also as a way to help build your Passion Presence (more on this later). Luke Hristou wrote a nice piece, “If You’re Using Twitter to Talk to Your Friends, You’re Missing the Point,” and I’m here to say that if you’re using Quora to only read information, you’re missing the point.
The further you get into Quora the more you see that a community is being built around gathering high quality information. Not only is there a grass roots movement from people who would not usually share information but there are established professionals providing information as well. There are a plethora of questions answered by rocket-scientists, famous entrepreneurs, location-specific experts, and other people who want to share their expertise. But what makes Quora different from any other question and answers website? What does Quora have that Yahoo Answers can’t provide? The key to Quora and this post revolves around the connection of who you are outside of web and your online presence. The founders of Quora knew this well and require users to connect their real identity to the answers they provide. The connection between who you are away from the keyboard and the knowledge that you provide gives credibility to the information you write. This bridge also allows you to take ownership of the information you provide. As someone who is trying to make a name for themselves you’re saying, “Hey world! Look at me, this interests me.” You’re building an online reputation. You’re building a Passion Presence.
There are plenty of articles about why everyone should be writing online. But what is the purpose? The purpose is to display to the world that you care enough about a topic of your choice to go out and try and contribute to it. For example, you’re in a job interview with another candidate with all of the same qualifications. The other candidate, however, has been writing about the industry and is actively involved. You have worked hard and you care about this industry, no doubt, but what have you done to act upon it? How have you shown that you’ll go out of your way to explore this knowledge? This effort to display your passion and personality is what I call your Passion Presence. The times of trying to hide who you are online are over, the physical world is moving online and if you want to stay competitive you need to build a presence online. Quora allows you to start small and get your feet wet with easy questions. What is the worst thing that could happen? Get online and embrace who you are. Build up your Passion Presence.
Here are some examples of great answers that have been provided. Think about what this answer did to their Passion Presence.