Use the most efficiently and in the most polite way each social network with its own specificity

  • there is an increasing number of social networks for a constant attention span makes it impossible to be part of all of them so basically you have to make a decision on which to spend your attention
  • since most tools tend to be used through a team or even an entire community, tools with similar etiquette or expected behavior should be grouped together


  • true social depends little on how easy the interaction is, rather how meaningful thus inciting people to make an effort
    • consequently all ways to facilitate social networks are mainly making easier to share information that was so far consider not worth sharing
  • no brain washing or coercion is required to maintain a closed social network, those are rather successful precisely because they understand what most people want (e.g. via OwnConcepts#gToM) and through which monetizable hoops they are ready to jump through to get it

From personal use

Detailed reviews and remarks


Quora is a question and answering for profit company started in 2009. I joined in early 2011 to go further regarding my Needs page started in April 2009 and containing what I consider important questions. I describe here after about a month what I find positive and negative.


Positive aspects

  • topics and persons that particularly interested me
    • the Silicon Valley inclinations of the community through several blogs like TechCrunch or RWW but also events like O'Reilly conferences which lead me to suppose a large high-tech, innovation and entrepreneurial community
      • that might not be what everybody is looking for but right now that is precisely what I am interested in
  • exclusive aspect (invitation only) which to be honest, beside the tempting marketing aspect to it, also sounds like a insurance on quality
    • i.e. I expect the quality to be high if the first members of the networks are carefully selected which seemed to be the cased which was not the case on very similar Q&A website like Yahoo! Answers or
    • I had already use those websites before but only as an external eye, solely to read answers and never to answer myself or ask because I suppose the quality and topics did not truly interest me and the expected return on investment was too low
    • note that this might also transform to a form of sclerosis or limitation on the breadth of topics covered like Scholarpedia or Citizendium which is not the case with open systems like Wikipedia
  • very good at incitating you by giving you positive feedback when somebody votes up your answer or thank you
    • smart enough not to be too negative, I do not think they directly show you when you get down voted for example
    • and you have scores, everybody is addicted to scores, so that is another good trick to make users addicted
  • the interface is really well done based on the amount of questions and users
    • yet knowledge management rather than interaction might become the bottleneck, see in the negative aspects
  • great handling of URLs
    • topic and abbreviations[Topic]
    • RSS[Topic]/rss
    • answers[Question-content]/answer/[User-name]
  • edition suggestion to get your own typos corrected or wanting to complete an answer through only adding a reference

Negative aspects

  • this is not Wikipedia, you are contributing to a for-profit company that is first aiming at making money, second facilitating exchange of information (one might say knowledge)
  • incitations like thanks, voted up and point system, a la gamification (so trendy in the the Silicon Valley right now) get you hook up so you might get a lower return on investment
  • it feels a bit as if you work for free, even if the community benefits from it, without the "glamour" of Wikipedia
    • this will probably get worst when monetization will come into play, cf two-sided markets
  • knowledge management is difficult even with a nice interface
    • if they do not solve classical hard problems like synthesis, merging, splitting or ontologies and others, maybe it will just become more and more of a mess or participation will just reach a maximum
      • statistics might help to clarify that and eventually witness a peak like currently with Wikipedia (cf Xerox PARC studies)
  • knowledge management is socially very dynamical to the point of being stressful
    • a question can be modified and that often helps to clarify it, at the same time this is not reflected in answers that predate the update, consequently answers can become outdated and it is very hard to keep track of it, either as a commentator or as somebody who have previously answer
  • different means of interaction are mixed: simple question with answer, wiki, comments, direct message
  • so far, I did not receive any answer to them
    • maybe the questions are not properly formulated, maybe the public is not the right one or maybe I am just unlucky but if that trend does not change I bet that over time I will use it less and less
  • time tracking might get problematic
    • some questions have answer that are true now but might become false in few months
      • it might hinder quality in the long run
  • there is no API
  • synchronization is not perfect
    • despite effort in the real-time aspect of the backend, some notifications are not reflected on your page
  • asking a question is counter intuive as you have to pass a test first

Transitions from one to another

  • different early adopter per topic?
  • how to follow the "right" crowd?
  • artificial limitations
    • socially
      • invitation only
        • e.g. Quora
    • technically
      • requiring login through another social network site
        • e.g. Quora through Facebook or Twitter

e.g. Twitter -> Quora -> The Shared Web / Gravity

Leap of faith

Trying Quora after Twitter, for both not clearly knowing what was the added value and the consequences of using such websites and being part of such communities.


Required because presence on each network is not free as it requires attention. Bridge exists (e.g. but are always limited.

  • safe
    • presence of more knowledgeable peers already present on it (discovered through sampling, stats)
    • very limited if peers are not risker-taker/explorer/lead-users of social networks
  • simplicity of transition
    • open protocol and formats allowing to download and re-use own information
      • but most likely very limited as, by definition, value is made through the link established with other users

See also

To explore


My notes on Tools gather what I know or want to know. Consequently they are not and will never be complete references. For this, official manuals and online communities provide much better answers.