The internet has put a world of knowledge at our fingertips.
Anything you want to know, you can find an answer to.
Even if the answer to your question can’t be found on Google, there will be someone, somewhere you can connect with who will tell you what you need to know.
Trouble is, there’s so much stuff out there it can be impossible to separate the wheat from the chaff. Wikipedia alone is growing so fast it would be impossible for a single person to read all the new content, even if they sat at their computer 24/7.
Google helps – to an extent. But it’s still a long way from perfect at delivering the information we need, when we need it.
So what can you do when you’ve got a question, and you need an answer right now?
The Twitter BatSignal – #lazyweb
With half a billion users, Twitter is one of the world’s biggest social networks, so it’s a great place to start.
But won’t only your followers see it?
Not if you add the hashtag #lazyweb. That’s the batsignal anyone can use if they’ve got a question they want answered. There’s a small army of helpful people tracking the hashtag and providing answers to questions.
Thinker’s Paradise – Quora
Quora is all about quality. You’ll get an in-depth and beautifully written answer from someone who’s an expert in the topic you’re asking about.
Quora isn’t always the fastest place to get an answer. That said, if you use Quora a lot you can earn credits. With your credits, you can promote your question. Promoted questions usually get answers quickly.
Quick and Dirty – Yahoo Answers
The spiritual home of Q&A on the web, Yahoo Answers is the place to go when you need a short, fast answer. You won’t always get the best quality answers, but unless you’re really unlucky, you will get an answer of sorts.
Get Help from a Geek – Ask Reddit
For all its claim to be “the front page of the Internet”, Reddit is still battling to enter the mainstream. That said, it’s a popular network with millions of active users.
Ask Reddit is the place to go with questions, though it’s a lottery whether your question will be picked up. The more attention grabbing your question, the more likely you are to get an answer.
Specialist Questions – Niche Forums
When you’ve got a technical question – perhaps about your car or your computer – then generalist forms such as Yahoo and Quora might not be too helpful.
Your best bet is to turn to Google, and to search for a relevant forum. When you’ve found a suitable forum, check it’s got a good level of active users (you can do this by seeing how recently people have added new posts).
The Networking Way – Contact a Blogger
A-List bloggers are busy people. Reaching out to ask a question is unlikely to get you anywhere fast. Their inboxes are full of fanmail. Your question is just one of many tasks on their to-do list.
B-List bloggers on the other hand will love hearing from you. They’ve yet to hit the big-time, so they’ve got the time to help you out.
Look for up and coming blogs in your niche, then get in touch with the lead writer to ask your question. Not only will you likely get an answer, but you will have made a new connection. That’s a double win!
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