Can Quora be localized?

Can Quora go mainstream to the masses? Can Quora be used effectively as a local media resource and social network for communities that have local questions?

The Problem with Local Topics

Topics are the defining feature of Quora that allows users to filter their Q&A stream. To filter local Q&A, users will follow local geographical names like “Palo Alto”. Non-geographical name topics are generic but specific topics, i.e. “Real Estate”, “Shopping”, “Shopping Mall”, “Daily Deals”, “Walmart”, “Pet Services”, “Nonprofits” will have local connotations. For example, a Quora user posing a question about the Palo Alto Real Estate market may add them to both the “Palo Alto” and “Real Estate” categories. You can imagine the deluge on the topic “Real Estate” when Realtors are mobilized on Quora to discuss their individual markets.

To avoid the problem of topic deluge, Quora’s users will need to define their questions by long tail methods. Here is how the local topic Palo Alto is currently sorted into subtopics (or child topics):

There are huge curation problems as topics multiply granularly, and create clutter that Quora monitors simply wouldn’t be able to organize in a timely manner.

Possible Quora solution – Categorical Curation

Now, all Quora users are displayed one stream of all topics they follow. The next major feature is to allow Quora users to create “buckets” or “lists” that curates topics into categories. Then the Quora user can aggregate all social media topics (“Facebook”, “Twitter”, etc.), geographical topics (“Palo Alto”, “Real Estate in Palo Alto”), and people they know or follow (“Robert Scoble”, “Steve Case”, “Barack Obama”) into separate, segregated streams.

About Pat Kitano

Patrick Kitano works with brands in developing hyperlocal engagement solutions and is administrator of the Breaking News Network, a national hyperlocal network devoted to community service. He is the author of The Local Network on Street Fight, and is reachable via Twitter @pkitano and email