I appreciate the way the Internet has allowed people to have a dialogue with people they never would have been able to talk to otherwise. Social media sites can bring you statuses, updates and responses directly from people in the known.
The problem is: how do you know that the person is who they say they are? Anyone can make an account with the name Hillary Clinton, for example, and start talking to people. When that's the case, its hard to trust anyone you're talking to on that network.
That's why services like Twitter and Facebook have begun to create verified accounts, so that you know that you are communicating with real people. Now question and answer site Quora is joining suite.
"Over the past year, we’ve been excited to see more and more public figures share their knowledge and insights on Quora," the company said in a blog post announcing the new accounts on Monday.
"Quora has increasingly become a go-to destination for public figures to directly answer meaningful questions and share their expertise and experiences with the world."
The company does not accept requests for verification, but will do so for a profiles that it believes, "that a significant percentage of Quora readers recognize the person’s name or background and will value confirmation of the person’s identity."
Profiles can be authenticated by linking to other social media profiles including Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter. Each verified account will come with a blue checkmark icon that looks a lot like the one used by Facebook and Twitter.
Quora landed a pretty high profile person to be its first verified account: none other than the President of the United States himself.
Barack Obama answered two questions on Quora on Monday, both about the Affordable Care Act, one about why enrollment has accelerated and the other about what impact the ACA will have on the lives of young people (not exactly hard hitting questions, I know, but hopefully that will come soon).
He already has nearly 2,000 followers on his page.
This is not the first time the President, and the White House, have used Quora to further their agenda. Back in January 2012, the White House created a forum for the State of the Union address, where users could post questions for President Obama to answer in his speech, and for White House representatives to respond to the days after.
Barack Obama, of course, is hands down our most social media savvy President ever.
This kind of technology has helped people feel closer to the President, It's kind of hard to imagine any future office holders not taking advantage of it as well.
(Image source: quora.com/Barack-Obama)