Wouldn't it be nice if you had an audience of, let's say, 500 million people, at your disposal? With Facebook Questions, now you do. The king of social networking starting rolling out the new feature, which lets users pose questions to the entire Facebook community, yesterday afternoon.
Facebook Questions is a lot like Yahoo! Answers. You ask the community a question, and you get a crap load of answers in return. But it doesn't stop there. Because the feature is public, the questions you pose will then be a part of the entire Internet, so it's best to keep the personal ones to yourself.
To participate, just click the “Ask Question” button on your homepage:
"Facebook Questions helps you tap into the collective knowledge of the more than 500 million people on Facebook," states the network's official blog post. "For example, if you're vacationing in Costa Rica and want to know the best places to surf, you can use Facebook Questions to get answers from nearby surfing enthusiasts. Because questions will also appear to your friends and their friends, you'll receive answers that are more personalized to you."
A Lacking Answer to an Old Question
Sure, it sounds like a great idea. After all, the greater the audience, the more likely it is that you'll get a fast and accurate answer. On the other hand, an audience as vast as Facebook's also means you'll probably have to sift through a lot of fast, inaccurate answers to find it.
"...because Facebook is putting the Q&As on the full Internet - and not just within Facebook - those wrong answers will be out on the Internet for anyone to find with a Google search," addedd Sam Diaz of ZDNet. "Isn’t there already enough of that coming out of random support forums?"
Diaz notes that Yelp has built an entire business model around this approach, so there is value to be found. It's just a matter of getting the recipe right. For example, while Yahoo! hasn't seen a ton of wild success with Yahoo! Answers, Twitter, stumbled onto a popular version of sorts by accident. Think about it-- how many times have you sent a question into the 140 character vortex? Usually your friends are the ones to respond, but a lot of times you'll get answers -- and unsolicited advice -- from strangers as well.
It sounds like a massive audience is one of the key ingredients, so Facebook shouldn't have a problem tapping into this vein. How useful it'll actually be, remains to seen.