Thursday, March 22, 2012
Don't Quit Your Day Job
ChaCha, for those of you who aren't familiar with it, is a human-powered search-and-answers service which primarily delivers answers to any question via text. A person can use ChaCha by using their mobile phone and either calling 1-800-2ChaCha (800-224-2242) or sending a text to 242-242. ChaCha can also be accessed on your computer at www.chacha.com while you're on the go. ChaCha is like having a smart friend you can call or text for answers on your cell phone anytime for free. It is available 24/7 and is free. And you can basically ask ChaCha anything, serious or funny, and they will answer your question.
So why am I telling you this? Because I happen to be a ChaCha Guide. What is a ChaCha Guide, you ask? Well, somebody has to answer all the questions that people ask ChaCha, and I am one of them.
I originally joined ChaCha on a lark. As I am currently unemployed, I've been a bit bored, and plus ChaCha pays its Guide (don't give up your day job; it's not much, and unless you're answering questions every waking hour, it will take time to earn anything substantial - still, it is possible to earn some minor income if you're dedicated enough. I'm not, though. I've only earned $6.00 since joining.).
The vetting process to join ChaCha was harder than I thought it would be. You need to be a fast typer and pretty knowledgeable about a lot of different things. I had to take a test which asked several questions on a variety of subjects. I did pretty well on that and then had to watch several training videos to be a Guide, and then had to take another test to qualify to be a Guide (one shot only - you fail, and no ChaCha for you). The test was actually a bit stressful, and I was convinced I had failed, but a few days later, much to my surprise, I was accepted as a ChaCha Guide.
Once I was accepted, there was some orientation to go through, and then I was free to start vetting questions (which basically involves making sure the questions texters send get answered correctly). It took me a bit to find my groove and actually my first experience answering questions was a little frantic. A ChaCha Guide is given a limited amount of time to find a suitable answer in ChaCha's data base to any question asked (or you can answer it yourself if you know the answer).
ChaCha Guides are also assessed to measure how well they are doing answering the questions appropriately and giving accurate, timely answers with personality and representing the ChaCha name in a positive manner. I feel I'm doing pretty well.
There is room for advancement at ChaCha, too.
Being a ChaCha Guide is kind of fun because you literally never know what kind of question you're going to get. They can be silly, such as "Does Andy like me?". They can be personal, such as "How do I get my boyfriend to pay more attention to me?". They can be suggestive, such as "Why are you making me so horny?". They can be about a myriad of subjects: "What's traffic like on the 101 right now?", "Can you tell me how to say apple in German?", "Who won the Indiana University game this evening?", "What time does Frank's Brake Shop in Harrisburg close?", "What's the weather going to be like tomorrow?", "Who is the lead singer for the band, The Wonder Years?", "What are the side effects of constipation?", "I need the lyrics to Adele's 'Someone Like You'.", "How do you figure out the slope in math?", "What is the size of Tokyo?", "What are three things Andrew Jackson accomplished in his presidency?", "If you've smoked weed, how long will it stay in your system?", "How do you get past the 16th level in the game 'Doors'?", "In the 1960s how much did a cheeseburger at McDonald's cost?", "How do you make s'mores?", "Are the Paranormal Activity movies based on a real story?", "If sperm got near my girlfriend's vagina (but not inside), can she still get pregnant?", "What is the best way to get rid of hiccups?", and "What is my daily horoscope?", among others. (And yes, most of these are questions (or variations of questions) that I, personally, have answered.
Add to this that some questions are vague, contain incomplete information, misspellings, or are just plain gibberish. I've received "gtbts," for example. Or somebody will send a will send a question on a subject which I am absolutely unfamiliar. For example, I've gotten a good share of Pokemon questions (a lot of ChaCha's users are pre-adolescent or teenagers) or video game questions. I'm pretty good with entertainment and pop culture questions. On the flip side, I'm not to keen on sports and math questions. Still, during high volume times (which are often), it's pretty much the luck-of-the draw.
Anyway, it's fun and can be a nice time-killer, and I'm (very slowly) earning some side cash as well. I also try to put some fun and personality in my answers. For example, somebody asked me what a haiku was, and I gave the answer, but also included a haiku about ChaCha as an example. Somebody was once being cute and made a comment in French, and being a French speaker myself, I replied in French. Or sometimes I'll include an additional interesting fact about the question. And I always try to sign off in a fun way like "ChaCha for now!" or "ChaCha on!" or "ChaCha-ing." or "Thanks for doing the ChaCha." or "ChaCha!"
Anyway, it's been interesting.