Maybe you’ve heard of Quora. It’s been raved about all over the web lately and has completely exploded in recent weeks.
Launched to the public in June of 2010, Quora is a question-and-answer site co-founded by two former Facebook employees, Adam D'Angelo and Charlie Cheever. It’s a place where people go to ask questions about anything they want and “experts” answer them. Think of it as Yahoo! Answers. But with legitimate questions. And knowledgeable answers. In fact, it’s not like Yahoo! Answers at all. The “experts” that answer the questions are actually experts. It’s not uncommon to see the CEO of a major tech company answer a question about how it got started.
So how can this benefit you as a photographer? Well, first of all, it can be an amazing resource for photography-related information. You simply create an account and begin following topics that you’re interested in, such as “Photography” or “Digital Photography” or even “Travel Photography,” if you want to get more specific. Any question that’s been tagged under that topic will appear in your feed. The ones that have been answered most recently will appear at the top, followed by all other questions in a reverse-chronological order.
Say you need some good suggestions for places to shoot while you’re in Rome next month. You might get an answer from a professional who’s been shooting in Rome for 20 years. Or maybe you’re in the market for a new Nikon lens for landscape photography. Why not ask on Quora and let the landscape pros tell you themselves?
Yes, of course there are other resources out there where you can find answers to your questions. Blogs and forums can always help, but the point of Quora is to incorporate the knowledge of professionals and experts, and so far it’s doing a good job. Furthermore, questions and answers are heavily moderated. Self-moderated by other Quora users, but moderated nonetheless. If your answer is sarcastic and lacks any useful information, it will get down-voted by other users. It’s a great setup to ensure that the information found on Quora has substance behind it.
It’s also a good way to assist the photography community for those of you with a wealth of knowledge and experience. Maybe you’re a professional sports photographer and wouldn’t mind sharing a few pointers to an up-and-comer.
Whether you’re there to learn or to teach, Quora is a goldmine of information, not just for photography, but for any topic you can think of. And it’s growing every day. In fact, the influx of new users in December was so great that it slowed the site down drastically for a while. Thankfully, they’re back at full speed and the new users keep coming in. So head over there, check it out, and see what the hype is all about. And maybe you’ll learn something, or quite a few somethings, that you didn’t already know.