You Got Questions? This App Got Answers [Review]

You Got Questions? This App Got Answers [Review]

People with things they want to know

Questions is a video ask-and-answer community for iOS. A bit like a video version of Quora – although where Quora encourages thoughtful discourse and discussion, Questions is all about brevity and snappiness. You only get 10 seconds to ask a question or submit an answer.

Questions lets you browse through other people’s questions and answers straight away, but if you want to start asking questions of your own, you have to connect it to Facebook. Regular readers might remember that I have a pretty low opinion of apps that require you to have a Facebook account before you can do anything. I know the vast majority of people couldn’t care less either way, but it bothers me and the rest of us Facebook-avoiders. I understand the need for authentication, but it’s a pity that Facebook is sometimes the only method on offer.

At least, having made the connection with your Facebook account, Questions doesn’t insist on posting anything in your name. When you ask a new question, there’s a clearly visible toggle switch that lets you decide whether you want the clip posted on your profile.

You Got Questions? This App Got Answers [Review]

Heh.

Twitter is famously defined by its character count limit, and Questions wants to do the same thing here. All you get is 10 seconds. Make your point fast. Witty works. Since you’re on video, you can be a bit visually creative – and there’s no doubt that the best questions and answers here are the ones with a sense of humor and a creative twist.

One problem – and this isn’t something unique to Questions, it afflicts a lot of newbie social networks – is the small size of the community. There are clearly a handful of individuals who have jumped into it and are enjoying it, but the limited number of voices becomes a problem, because you end up seeing the same faces over and over. Of course this might be solved naturally as time goes on, and more people start engaging.

I quite like the idea of Questions. Browsing can be addictive and amusing. It’s not quite there yet, I don’t think. It needs more people – lots more people – to liven things up a bit. The content categories need re-thinking. Only allowing a single word to title each clip leads to some very weird-looking titles. But on the whole, it offers a fun way to kill a bit of time and encounter some new people (be warned: it took me less than five minutes to find my first Creepy Weird Guy).

Of all the things I saw there, my favorite was a simple clip with no speech in it at all: just the camera pointing at a geometry problem in a math text book, and the begging title – “mathHELP”. Two people had volunteered helpful answers. That, to me, is one of the best things Questions offers: a chance to be helpful to people.

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About the author

Giles TurnbullGiles Turnbull is a freelance writer in England. He also writes for the Press Association and The Morning News. You can find out more at his website, and follow him on Twitter @gilest.

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