Answer communities are becoming popular. They are a good way to find specific expert answers to any kind of question you might have. Yahoo Answers has been one of the most successful of the answer communities. Now we here at MakeUseOf have an awesome expert question and answer community specifically directed towards the technology, computers and Internet side of things. We have some very knowledgeable people just waiting to answer any question you may have. In fact, an answer community like MakeUseOf’s that has a narrower niche can make finding your answer in that niche easier and more enjoyable. Recently I ran across another approach to the answer communities. It’s called PeerPong.
What they are attempting to do is connect people with questions to people who have proven they have some type of knowledge and authority on that topic.
They use services such as Twitter to get an idea of who has expertise on what subject. Let’s go through how it works and you be the judge as to whether or not you think it is a good approach. Sign Up & Go Through Initial Processing Signing up is easy and connecting your Twitter and Facebook profile is a snap. I chose to just use my Twitter account because I centralize a lot of my “expertise” there but you can connect both if you choose. Once signed up, PeerPong will then search your networks and interactions and choose some areas where they think you have some knowledge.
How the inner workings of this works, I am not sure… maybe much prayer and supplication? The next step was for me to chose several topics to follow on Peerpong.
I have yet to figure out what choosing topics to follow does besides adding them to your profile’s sidebar but if you figure it out, let me know. Seems a bit illusive to me. They also ask if you want to invite your friends to ask you some questions.
The default wording they offer talks about asking you anonymously. I’m not sure of the reason for that but you can change the wording to whatever you want. You can also choose to check the box reminding your friends weekly that you are available to answer questions. This could be good for garnishing more interaction but be careful because you also don’t want to annoy people. Finally they ask three questions from areas where they think you have some kind of wisdom.
This is giving you a start and also gives you an idea of how the site works. Ask & Answer Questions Other people can now ask you questions directly. They can find you by going to your profile (assuming they know it) or they can find you in a list of experts under the “experts” tab in a category.
You can also go and help answer other questions and hopefully gain some authority.
What’s So Different Than Other Expert Question and Answer Sites? Many answer communities have authority grading systems so let’s think for a bit and see why PeerPong is different than the every day, run-of-the-mill answer community. First, PeerPong uses your interaction on other social networks in order to find where your specific authority lies. Also they do a good job at finding relevant questions. The questions they tossed my way have all been questions I was interested in answering. I also like the idea of inviting my friends to ask me questions. When developing authority in my niche on a site like Twitter, just posting links and such only goes so far. Giving my followers an open avenue to run questions by me can be helpful. What is your opinion? Is the approach of PeerPong one that will work? Where do you go online to find answers to your questions (besides of course MakeUseOf’s Answer community)? NEW: Download MakeUseOf iPhone App. FREE!