Ever since “Facebook” changed the concept of “friends,” converting strangers into followers and viewers of everything and anything we so decide to post, the social media has somewhat turned itself into a voyeuristic tendencies from selfies to groupies. The likes of “Instagrams, Pinterests, Tweeters and Tumblers” emerged with assorted flavors, specific ends and targeted sectors. Technology has squeezed itself from an introvert’s turf into the larger demographics of social networking. Everything else that does not connect has somewhat been downgraded into a second class tier.
Welcome to “Quora”, offshoots of former “Facebook” corporate babies, dubbed as the latest site for knowledge in the form of “Questions and possible Answers”. Ask and it shall be answered, discussed, searched, followed, and shared, from one space to another, vain or profound, folly or wise, an endless litany of questions and responses.
I stumbled upon it in one of my wanderlust moments of IPhone tryst. While doing an “app” update, “Quora” crossed my screen and asked, “What is your question?” to which I answered, “So what is Quora?” Responses popped. I asked another question, answered some questions, commented on some answers, discussed some other questions, until more than three thousand viewers shared an eye in less than an hour of reading, clicking and typing with small fonts. The spontaneity of people posting queries from all subject matters and getting answers from opinions to facts, from speculations to expertise, and from superficial to profound were astounding while the coziness of anonymity remains the same.
Adam and Charlie, inventors and founders of Quora, envisioned that the Question and Answer format of discussion would someday attract the best specialists and provide readers with free expertise directly designed by their own questions. Hence, they go directly to hot buttons, inquiries on what people need, provided on demand and created after a question is formed. Anyone is free to ask anything and someone will be free to answer as they please. No citations are required. No authority is demanded. No credibility is questioned. The readers decide.
Without going into details, the value of Quora is not necessarily on the answers provided but on the questions asked. The intent to know starts from a question. Questions reflect an innate curiosity. And although a cliché states that curiosity kills a cat, it is also curiosity that sparks the scientific process of experimentation and creativity. The power of a question is the revelation of our deeper yearnings, the extension of our hidden needs, and the projection of our desires.
We ask because of a need to know, a need to get in touch, a need to fulfill, and a need to communicate to other fellows who share with our curiosity and to other humans who might possess what we do not have and know what we do not. Through technology, Quora then becomes an agent of communication, a broker between ignorance and wisdom, a vendor of free space and a traffic light through a highway that structures information and makes it effective and efficient.
“What is the highest form of intelligence?” asked William Halmeck. “Knowing when to shut up”, answers another. And the questioning continues; some ignored, some causing attention, others creating controversy, and still others diffusing debates. Yet people ask. They ask because they want to learn or perhaps they want to know. And they ask because they want someone to listen to their voices lurking in the shadows of complete anonymity or perchance desiring for a much needed help.
Rainer Maria Rilke, the German author of “Letters to a Young Poet” stated: “Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the question themselves…Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer”.
Questions are like hunger triggers dented within our minds. They relentlessly seek to fill itself with endless queries; queries that fill up the puzzle of our fulfillment, our human confirmation and our spiritual validation. Observe a child who asks, over and over, about so many things, in so many ways, in different occasions. They seldom get tired. They always wonder. Their minds wander. They may sound annoying but that is not their intent. They ask not to intrude or bother or insult. They ask because they need to. And so they grow. And the moment we stop asking, it is as if we stopped growing. We fear. We are intimidated by the possible negativity of an impression, of what others might think of us. And so we stop growing, a tragedy of human life.
And so I ask, how often do you tinker with the social media? Is there anything you learned? Have you transformed into a better person? Have you transmitted something of value to others with the questions that you ask? Have you received the right answers from the right people that could have changed those that needed change?
“Quora” is both in the IOS as well as the Android format. It is free of any cost and does not sell any built in applications. Try it. I am somewhere there, projecting my own questions and answering some. Someday, most probably, I will see your questions and you will see mine. Our paths will meet. And we will have a rendezvous of thoughts that could be refreshing. Go to play store or the app store. Look for Quora, download, install, and shoot whatever question comes into your mind. No need for pics or detailed profile, or intimate facts about who you are. Your questions will take care of that. See you there!