The popular networking site LinkedIn has created a new Answers feature, where members can post questions, and members can provide answers. They have a simple expertise system where the ‘best’ answer to each question garners an expertise point for the answerer.
I happened to be reading a question about webhosts, and decided to answer (I use 1and1 for my personal site). Then I looked at who asked, and who (46+ people) was answering the question. It’s a huge expertise mining operation! I couldn’t figure out who was getting more traction in this simple example: the VC person asking who used which web host, or the various people – real life, or shills, we don’t know – who were including plenty of weblinks in each of their answers.
In any case, when do you think this will move to a micropayment system, like some of the other web expertise systems out there? I’ll give the VC my opinion on web hosts for a few cents, especially since it’s getting him good data to get his job done. Some of the questions there are clearly people looking for an easy way to do research.
Or am I being too harsh today? LinkedIn is all about connections, so maybe we should look at it as the broader version of asking your question around the watercooler. If it’s someone in your 1st/2nd degree contact list, then it’s not much different from a friend of a co-worker asking you for advice – there’s an inherent level of trust, both in the answer, and the fact that the trust won’t be abused.
If you’re on LinkedIn, then see their Answers tool. If not, contact me for an invitation. You don’t need an invitation to join – it’s free – but I’m currently at 99 connections, and you could be the lucky 100th person on my contact list!