Can Quora become a resource for personal finance?

Can Quora – dubbed a continually improving collection of questions and answers – live up to its promise and hype as a resource for personal finance? We take a further look.

Question and Answer sites on the web and social networks are nothing new, but a newcomer on the scene, Quora has been generating some spectacular buzz in recent weeks and is attracting an avid following.  So what’s it all about, why is it different and can it become a resource for personal finance questions and answers?

Quora – which stands for Question or Answer is dubbed a continually improving collection of questions and answers was launched to the public in June 2010, after a period of 6 months in development but the site really took off in late December 2010, after a flurry of attention from the tech press and the wider media in general.

The BBC’s technology correspondent, Rory Cellan-Jones praised the site in his column and the Telegraph has even contemplated it will surpass the popularity of Twitter. Whilst I think the latter is somewhat far fetched, the site has hit on a sweetspot of usability and quality content.

Quora will be bigger than Twitter…

– Daily Telegaph

Of course the early producers of much of the content were the Silicon Valley digerati, many of which are themselves immersed in dizzy valuations of personal and company wealth as their start-ups go from germ of an idea to global online services in a matter of months.

Quora – the so far ad-free and distraction lite goldmine of answers – was started by ex-luminaries of Facebook is itself now worth an estimated $86 million. Discussions about its worth Venture Capitalists and industry insiders is rife.

Interestingly the spillage from corporate valuation discussions to personal wealth and personal finance on Quora seems does not seem to abate, and the difference with this Q+A site is the accountability of the individual using it, the degree of transparency, and the calibre of the answers.

Not a personal finance chat forum

Whilst eschewing the style of a chat forum, Quora has unearthed some revealing threads about personal finance, wealth and debt.

Some of the most fascinating and thoughtful include:

Quora What’s it like to feel rich?

Quora What does it feel like to be poor?

Quora Is it really a worthy goal to be debt free?

Quora Is it worth going into debt to further my education?

Quora Is it better to repay student debt loans early?

What makes the likes of the above interesting, is that in many cases you are actually receiving the wisdom of startup founders or prominent executives from significant companies.

Whilst at the moment, the users of the site are mostly US citizens and the topics are less UK focused, this is changing rapidly as the user base now grows beyond 500,000 in January 2011, and professionals, pundits and public flock from all angles.

Unlike Facebook or Twitter, Quora’s policy is to enforce individual participation over company run accounts – which are currently not supported , although this may prove difficult as already companies can be seen creating a presence on Quora – and rapidly getting wrapped on the knuckles.  Voting mechanisms to upvotecollapse answers, and report violations are the tip of the police iceberg to ensure quality prevails over abuse, although time will tell how this succeeds.

Quora – a trusted personal finance resource?

Perhaps it’s too early to say if Quora will become a trusted resource for personal finance during 2011, although the comparative absence of adverts, sponsorship and clutter, does make it a unique proposition at the moment. Ultimately it is down to the community participation and profile of the users that will determine it Quora can become a trusted resource for personal finance questions and answers.

What do you think of Quora for personal finance?

Note: Quora is free to browse and view, but currently operates an invitation only sign-up method. If you want an invite to participate, leave a comment below and the ClearDebt marketing team will send you one!

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