Facebook Begs the Question with Latest Feature, Questions

By Michelle Amodio March 25, 2011

Gone are the days of logging on and just telling Facebook your latest answer to its age-old question, “what’s on your mind?”

The social network, in a move to facilitate more activity and conversations, launched what it had been testing last July; an expert question-and-answer service in which users asked questions and waited for answers. Now Facebook has moved away from the “expert” part of this project and focusing more on the, well, social aspect of it.

"For most of these questions, experts weren't going to be the best source for advice. The answers to these questions are meaningful or interesting because you know your friends and your friends know you," said Adrian Graham, Facebook Questions product manager.

Facebook patterned the service after Quora, an impersonal Q&A startup created by former Facebook engineers Adam D'Angelo and Charlie Cheever.

The team realized that on a social network, users' friends are often the best source of advice for where a user should go to dinner, what music they might like or even how to buy a car.

“Like many of our products, Questions originated as people began using Facebook in a new and unexpected way. People would update their status with a question, and their friends would answer in the comments,” writes the Facebook blog.

Facebook emphasizes that your friends' opinions are probably going to be the opinions that will count most, but the social networking service is not just limiting question answering to your immediate group of Facebook friends.

Questions you ask will first appear on your friends' walls, but if they answer one of your questions, their friends will be able to see and answer your Questions, too.

The feature is slowly getting rolled out to all Facebook members, but if you can't wait to start asking your friends what is the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow is, you can activate the feature at https://www.facebook.com/questions.

Michelle Amodio is a TechZone360 contributor. She has helped promote companies and groups in all industries, from technology to banking to professional roller derby. She holds a bachelor's degree in Writing from Endicott College and currently works in marketing, journalism, and public relations as a freelancer.

Edited by Tammy Wolf

TechZone360 Contributor

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