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Tuesday, Mar. 13, 2007 at 1:32 pm

Wanna Be in My Knowledge Network?

By Jeffrey Eisenberg
March 13th, 2007

Blind leading the blindI’ve never used Yahoo! Answers but, then again, there’s a lot I don’t know. Yahoo! Answers Network is trying to make the answers we get “smarter.” The Yahoo! Search blog explains:

“But even with all that knowledge being shared, one of the biggest pieces of feedback we’ve gotten from our users is to make Answers “smarter”, enabling them to get even better answers to their questions and connect to the smart people they know in (and out of) Answers. Well today, we think Yahoo! Answers just got a little bit smarter.

We just added a new capability to Answers, the Yahoo! Answers Network – currently in beta, which enables you to build your own personal knowledge network. So what exactly is a knowledge network? Simply put, it enables you to directly connect with people whose knowledge you value so you can easily share knowledge and discover interesting information on topics you care about.

More specifically, the Yahoo! Answers Network enables you to see if any of your contacts have asked a question, provided a great answer, or simply “starred” a question they found interesting.”

What do you think of Yahoo! Answers? Have you tried it, liked it, use it regularly?

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Comments (7)

  1. Hey Jeffrey – I just posted some of my experience with Yahoo Answers over the weekend. Here’s part of my story:

    “I don’t spend a ton of time on Yahoo! Answers. One or two visits per week is typical. And if I just spend one hour answering questions in the Small Business category (or elsewhere when it’s appropriate), I’m guaranteeing myself a traffic bump over the following several days. It never fails.”

    Full post: http://www.smallbusinesssem.com/2007/03/10/why-i-love-yahoo-answers/

    There’s a fair amount of junk in Yahoo Answers, as with any big social experiment. But there’s also some gold to be found, too, I think.

  2. Thanks Matt. That helps explain how it’s used with a business interest. I wonder what other motivations people have to answer questions.

  3. I agree with Matt McGee’s comments about Yahoo Answers. Lots of crap, but valuable stuff there, too. They also defer to the ego with the opportunity to “win” the coveted Best Answer designation, so you can show off to your friends and associates. However, because the “best” answer is determined by the question-asker, the true best answer doesn’t always win. I’ve seen answers that are factually incorrect or which offer just plain bad advice be deemed the best answer.

    I suppose the experiement works, to a certain extent, though – in that the question-asker gets his/her needs met. It’s the usefulness for the rest of the readers that becomes a bit questionable.

    I would definitely get behind a knowledge network, though!

  4. Laura, you made me smile beacuse you gave me a better insight. Right or wrong, useful or useless, helpful or harmful aren’t the issues. The askers feels answered and the answerers get their needs met too. For the person who isn’t asking or answering it’s akin to conversations overheard on public transportation. Harmless fun and occasionally worthwhile.

  5. Yes, I see Yahoo answers as a double edged sword. It helps laymen get answers to every question they have. I had a lawn problem once and posting on yahoo answers did help me.

    But again, as Laura says- sometimes factually incorrect info is posted. Unfortunately, this happens in the “Health” section too.

    I am a medical doctor and I once saw a post “My father’s lips are turning blue. What do I do?” I can’t imagine why someone would rely on yahoo answers for something like this, but you know the stupid things people do. One answer asked the guy to take his father to the ER asap, but there were others who posted crazy answers too.

  6. Nishi, I wonder if there was a Darwin Award awarded for that father and his offspring.

  7. I find it works best to help me refine my research. Picking up keywords, websites to use, or different angles to approach my issues with. I’ve used it to gather info on things like cheap automated off site backups for remote workers, to picking the perfect breed of dog to buy my soon to be six year old. (In the latter case I found a great website for researching dogs breederretriever.com.)

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Jeffrey Eisenberg, founder of FutureNow, is a professional marketing speaker and the co-author of New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling books Call to Action and Waiting For Your Cat to Bark. You can friend him on Facebook.

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