How to become an expert by using online Q&A sites

When I do seminars to help out of work folks, I always talk about how to create your own Web site, set up your email with your own domain, and start an email list. All of these activities are centered on becoming a known expert in a very particular niche, something that has served me well in the almost 20 years that I have been out running my own business. But what about those people that don’t want to invest all their time with this tech?

There is an alternative, and it is as simple as answering a few questions. Okay, maybe not that simple, but still a lot easier than learning WordPress and Mailman and how Google sets up email for its Apps.

What I am talking about here is being able to post some comments, and answering some questions online to show your expertise. It doesn’t take all that much time, it can be fun, and it can help spread the word about your skill set and what you know.

Why is this important? Job seekers often forget how much they actually know about their particular niche or niches and take this knowledge for granted. When you are doing your job search, you are more focused on trying to find the right openings or increasing your network by meeting particular people, both of which are great activities.

But they can be complementary ones. So how to get started? Well, LinkedIn is one place, and the corner of this service that even the more experienced members don’t spend much time with is called Answers. Click on the More tab on the top menu bar and then Answers, and you’ll enter this universe. The format is simple: you ask a question that you want someone else to answer or you search for and then answer someone else’s question. I suggest the latter option for the first-timers. You can search for particular topics that LinkedIn has culled from its database that it thinks you are expert in, or you can go find them yourself.

I used this feature to collect a bunch of different pointers to innovative GPS applications for a story that I wrote several years ago. And I periodically answer some questions that are relevant to my particular business, computer networking and Internet applications and social media. Answers gets more useful the more you spend time with it.

You can complement your expertise on LinkedIn by participating in its discussions on the various groups that you belong to. What, you don’t belong to any groups? Now is the time to start.

But there are other places that you think about, including Business Week’s Business Exchange, Quora, Replyz and Fluther.

All of these work in similar fashion to Answers. You can search for particular topics, and post questions or answers to them. Some also link to your LinkedIn or Facebook accounts, for easy access and can post your replies to your Twitter feed, again to spread the joy of your knowledge.

Paul Gillin and I have prepared a short podcast (Is Q&A the new black) as part of our continuing MediaBlather series here that you are welcome to download and take a listen to.

One thought on “How to become an expert by using online Q&A sites

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention How to become an expert by using online Q&A sites « David Strom’s Web Informant -- Topsy.com

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