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This week’s biggest buzz is Quora, an ‘online knowledge market’ that allows people to post – and answer – questions on a multitude of topics.  Quora aggregates questions and answers to many topics and allows users to collaborate on them, providing a bit of a social platform as well self-regulation of the community.

Quora is a human search engine, where people get to ask other people for answers or advice.  When you search for information on Google or Bing, your words go through an algorithm to help determine what existing content on the Internet has those words (or related words) and gives you a list of results to choose from.  In other words, artificial intelligence.  Quora lets people answer questions, not display search engine results.

What does this get you?  As a question-asker, it gives you the opportunity to pick the brains of (potential) experts and gain from the knowledge and experience of others.  As a question-answerer, it gives you the opportunity to become seen as a thought leader in your industry and gain exposure with the very people that need you most.  No surprise, it can also help your search engine results as well.

Quora seems to be in direct competition with Yahoo Answers and LinkedIn Answers, but for the time being seems to lean to the tech crowd.  All three platforms have a specific niche, and at least one of them can be useful as a resource help promote yourself and your business in a non-sales / non-pushy way.  While the platform has been available for since June 2010, it is now just gaining momentum and popularity within the business community.

How should you utilize sites like Quora?  Take a browse around and see if there are any topics that you feel you can answer with some degree of knowledge and authority and try to log in an hour a week and answer questions.  The goal here is to get many quality answers listed and become a trusted and valuable member of the Quora (or Yahoo Answers / LinkedIn Answers) community.  Good luck and let us know what you answer on – post your link in the comments section, we would love to read about it!

(Find Lynette on Quora)