Why do many people on Quora who have never answered a question, or asked one, have so many followers?
Quora has a weird kind of celebrity mechanic.First, write good answers that make people go, “Wow.” But obviously, there are many writers who do that and it just doesn’t do anything. Well, what do you want me to say? You have to know the right people.Remember that this is a social network and there are many social elements to it.First, understand the nature of how Quora got started. It was begun by Adam D'Angelo and Charlie Cheever. These were two Silicon Valley wizards who were extremely well connected with the tech crowd, especially the social networking big names and industry leaders. They invited their friends to be the first beta testers to seed the site with cool questions and answers, because their friends were nerdy enough to know the answers to all these random things. Their friends invited their friends which created a very firm hold on the San Francisco Bay Area. Also, at some point, some of the Indian employees began getting their friends employed and then Quora exploded on a whole other continent. But remember that fact, two guys big in Social Media started off the site by inviting their friends and so on.Next was an early tool by Quora to link with Facebook and inform you that your friends are on the site. This was important because, again, really well connected people in social media again connected on the site.Then a third tool came out that told people about next level connections and encouraged them to link up that way too. They basically ballooned and filled in any gaps in the social network for the people who came in first. Now, you have an incredibly networked core group of users that, at some point or another, you’re going to become aware of very soon once you first sign on to Quora, even years and years later. Mind you, at no point whatsoever, was writing a question or answer ever necessary for all of this to happen.The next thing that happened was the Top Writers program. In 2012 Quora made official that some of us were just nerdy enough to be considered especially nerdy. We were made a special collective of arch nerds for everyone to look at and admire. Even worse, once we were placed on a pedestal, we connected with each other outside of Quora. Meetups happen with Top Writers. We formed Facebook groups and became FB friends. What was weird was that we would get recommended friends on FB who were friends with our other Top Writer friends, and then we would get notifications on Quora about our other new friends on FB. Unsurprisingly many of the first batch of Top Writers came from the SF area too. Everything really built on itself over and over. We actually contributed, so we attracted attention and gained followings in the natural way, but many of us were following these mystery individuals too, so guess what? We pointed all of you to those weird enigmas of the Quoraverse, as well.And the process keeps repeating with each year, because as you start to follow the people you love, you’ll see at some point the suggestion to follow people they are following, and somehow this happens.If you don’t know who Jack Dorsey is, you should check him out on Twitter. His name is@jackYeah, just @jack, because he’s the freaking CEO of Twitter.So Jack is a primary example of this process which caused several people to become incredibly (Quora) famous for what appears to be no reason at all.Many, many of these people have fallen away and out of the Top 100, but there have been many of them up there for quite some time. As the years go by, actual writers will probably bump them down too, and then they will not be that special, but for now, people like Jack are just going to be around making all of us feel insignificant about our lives and there just isn’t anything you nor I can do about it.This effect, I believe is diminishing. Many of the early adopters aren’t active, so they aren’t accruing as many blind followers which is pointing fewer new people to the mystery tech celebs. And while San Francisco still dominates this space, its influence is spreading. There are now many Top Writers and topic leaders from around the world who are building different niche environments all their own with tighter core groups that channel new users in and among themselves. It’s like the core is branching out like like a star, with very wide bases connected to the core while a long arm forms channeling new users closer and closer to the core as users follow more and more people. The thing is, the core is leaving and each time it takes more and more jumps to reach it. In a way, many people are getting all they need from the new cores which are developing. Military has one. So does Technology, Food, and Books. Over time, we will see this less and less as real Quora personalities take up most of the top 100, assuming they stick around long enough.