In the age of information inundation, being able to organize content in a meaningful way is one thing that can save us from getting lost in the deluge—that feeling of indiscriminate interestingness the Internet affords. Or perhaps it’s just indiscriminate curiosity. Whatever it is, users are increasingly interested in not only sharing content, but organizing it. Perhaps that’s why Pinterest has been so successful—a social media site that allows people not only to share the images they find interesting—but to organize the vast depository of visual information. That means different things for different people. While in the U.S., Pinterest users are overwhelmingly female, with interests like crafts, fashion, and interior design; users in the U.K. are mostly younger males interested in public relations, SEO, and venture capital. That’s good news for Pinterest, suggesting room for expansion into other demographics.
BO.LT, an online service still in beta, is like Pinterest in that there is a community of “bolters” who share and discover material through “bolts,” which are like “pins” but for entire web pages. It’s like Pinterest for pictures and text. Users who “bolt” a page can choose an accompanying image—a photo from the page, a thumbnail, or they can upload a photo from the computer. They can also write brief statements about why the page is particularly fascinating, and sort them into categories. And unlike Pinterest where everything is public, users can choose to make all their bolts private.
Nonetheless, these services are valuable not only for their social and sharing aspects, but for their ability to help us organize, remember, and connect all the bits of information in the whirlwind.