Quora is the new Twitter, or at least the buzz machine is treating it that way. The question is, does it have a place in a communications professional’s toolbox?

Just as with blogging, Facebook and Twitter before it, the answer is yes and no.

Quora is a social networking site, in which users choose who to follow, and may in turn be followed by others, except in this case the main activity being followed is asking and answering questions.

Part of the excitement here is interacting with hotshots in the business or media world in a personal manner, something that has helped bolster Facebook and Twitter (anyone want to know what Ashton Kutcher is doing right now?). There is some additional excitement about Quora, though, because the questions-and-answers format speaks directly to authority and thought leadership.

The EVC Group take on it – which as always is focused on the tangible - remains in line with what we had to say about Twitter and many other social media outlets when we spoke to PRWeek back in 2009. Be strategic in how you use it, don’t fool yourself into thinking you’re being productive because of the volume of your activity or number of followers. Is that activity leading to face-to-face relationships, something EVC Group prizes above every other interaction?

That doesn’t mean don’t get out there.

When The Poynter Institute recommends six ways for journalists to use Quora, that means public relations professionals should be there.

Six days after Poynter’s January 12th piece, Katherine Boehret at The Wall Street Journal wrote a review of the service in which she pronounced it to be still an insider’s tool that is continuing to evolve. Interestingly she then tweeted on @kabster728 “So I’m curious: If you read my column today, did you sign up for Quora? What are your 1st impressions? http://is.gd/3nnU2N.”

An insider’s space that is continuing to evolve is a good place to be, even if you mostly do what Katherine found herself doing and monitoring what others are doing and saying. PRWeek agreed later in the month.

The jury is still out on the ultimate utility for businesses as Inc.’s article Monday articulates. Though, we do note that Tyler James’ advice on how to cultivate tangible relationships through social media is in line with our own experience.

Be there, be findable, monitor and participate. At minimum, do not be distinguished by your lack or presence.

3.01.11

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