BOLT, a new social content sharing platform, has officially launched today. Though the service provides a Pinterest-like grid of shared - or "bolted" - images and articles, BOLT has many features that Pinterest lacks.
“BOLT is the next step in the evolution of the Web. We make it simple to corral the web and to save and share great content for fun and for serious business," said James Roche, co-founder and co-CEO of BOLT. "BOLT includes consumer-centric features that reflect the changing model of the online experience, as it moves in a more visual and social direction.”
Similar to other social sharing sites, BOLT users can populate their collections of Bolts with content through the bo.lt website, with BOLT bookmark, or with the BOLT Chrome extension. When Bolting content, users can choose the image that best suits the Bolt, and then add a comment that will stick with it, no matter where it is shared.
The main feature that sets BOLT apart from other social sharing platforms is that when a user shares content, it is automatically saved. Images, files, or entire webpages can be saved to BOLT, meaning links to "bolted" content will never be broken. According to the company, Bolts are not links or images, but working copies of the original content. This doesn't mean that pages are stolen, however. Page analytics are left intact for these "super screen captures," and attribution is carried along with the Bolt.
The privacy options of BOLT also set it apart from other sharing platforms. When users create a Bolt, it can be shared instantly to Facebook, Twitter, Tumbler, or even Pinterest itself, making it a sort of backend that saves all of the content users share across social networks. However, Bolts can also be set to private, meaning only the user who bolted it can view the content. This is useful for private obsessions that users might not want their social networks to know about, or for more professional uses, such as a school research project. Since all of the Bolts are saved, Journalists who use the service won't have to worry about sources disappearing overnight. It is a feature Pinterest users have requested, but not yet received.
“The sheer wealth of information online is truly daunting – millions of pages, countless words, images and ideas," said Matthew Roche, the other co-founder and co-CEO of BOLT. But imagine you could pick out, organize, save and share the things that interest you most, or things that could help you most in your work. That’s BOLT. Our team has spent the past six months making it easier and more fun than ever to tame the web – to find, share and even create – content that lasts forever.”
Below is a silly video provided by BOLT to demonstrate the basics of the platform. Take a look for yourself and decide whether BOLT's features make it stand out from the current excess of social sharing platforms:
Will BOLT have what it takes to move into Pinterest's territory and succeed? It's certainly possible. After all, Facebook definitely wasn't the first social network to come along, and Reddit used to be the smaller, nerdier version of Digg. The internet's short history is full of stories where competitors were able to slowly gather a community and dominate a particular niche that others had created. Also, recent evidence has shown that Pinterest's meteoric rise in popularity is now waning a bit. It will be interesting to see how, or whether, Pinterest reacts to BOLT, and whether users will see Pinterest add features as a result of the competition.