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Technology & Entrepreneurship

SOPA and Quora

January 15, 2012

SOPA is obviously a huge issue these days. Whether there is more panic than is merited is not clear to me. But this is not a post about SOPA; it is a post about Quora

I was curious about what people were saying about SOPA, so I decided to check out the questions and answers in Quora. Now, I know there are a million things out there on SOPA and probably anyone interested would read about it elsewhere. 

Having said that, the Quora activity seemed meager, to say the least. For example, 13 people are following the question What is the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA)? Looking at related questions, the numbers seem to go down from there. 

My initial (and continuing) reaction to Quora is that it is a great way to cluster commentary and opinion around topics. I wonder though if it is not losing steam/market share. If this is the case, and I suspect that it is, there are probably several reasons for it. 

One reason might be that Quora is not really all that easy to use. Like many techie things, it sometimes seems as though the technology stands between the user and the use. Here is a post from Semil Shah (on Quora) that touches on this issue. His first point: Make it easier for Quora users to ask questions, especially on the mobile app, goes to the heart of the matter. If Semil Shah has this reaction, imagine the experience of a less tech savvy user.

Like many things technological, ultimate success does not depend so much on capturing the fancy of Semil Shah, Michael Lopp and other members of the tech vanguard, but on massive adoption by people for whom the site is a means not an end. 

One more thought about SOPA, old distribution and revenue models will not come roaring back into fashion because SOPA is passed. Hollywood’s content creators will still have to change their business models as technology and social networking continues to grow up.