BOLT, a new platform for collecting and sharing web pages, is exiting beta today. Somewhere between Pinterest, Evernote and Delicious, it is part of a growing number of social sharing sites that help users organize the abundance of online information. Users can “bolt” an entire webpage (sort of like “pinning”), select a thumbnail, and write a description underneath. Webpages that are “bolted” are saved on BOLT’s servers forever in the form of a “super screen capture”—even if the page gets taken down by the publisher, you’ll still have access to it in the form of a bolt with functioning links. Bolts can be organized into categories, which unlike Pinterest, can be public or private.
Besides a tool for organization, BOLT is a way to discover content. Scroll through your feed, follow other users, or explore categories like “digital design,” “technology,” “style,” and “food & drink.” As 10,000 Words has covered before, there are several ways journalists can use Pinterest, which also apply to BOLT. But because of the ability to make collections private, BOLT can be used to collect story ideas or organize research. Journalists can also use it to follow how a particular story is unfolding in the news, or compare how different outlets cover a certain story or issue.
For example, let’s say you want to keep up with the Bloomberg soda ban story. To start bolting, all you need is the Chrome extension or bookmarklet. One click, and several options open up in a dialogue box. First, choose an image for the thumbnail. You can choose any image from the webpage, take a screenshot, or upload your own image from your computer.
Then, you can fill in a url for your bolt, write a description with hashtags to make it easily searchable, and choose a collection for your bolt to reside.
Your bolt will appear in the collection alongside any other pages you’ve added.
BOLT can also be a useful tool for organizations, since it allows multiple users per account. Matthew Roche, co-founder and co-CEO, suggested using BOLT in preparation for a pitch, or to assemble LinkedIn profiles when hiring for a position. “Organizations can also use BOLT to collect, save and share competitive information, conduct pre-sales research, plan and collaborate on events, save press coverage and more,” he said. “Businesses can create online ‘briefing books’ in minutes instead of days.”
Besides bolting webpages, users can also bolt photos and emails. Email them to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org, and they get transformed into a bolt as well. There is also the option to connect to other services: Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Buffer, and Pinterest.
The issue of copyright inevitably comes up—especially with the news of Pinterest’s newly-hired general counsel. Roche said that they follow the DMCA, and out of about one million bolts, they have executed four takedown requests so far. “We are offering our services as an archive so that folks can keep copies that won’t change or go away,” he said. “Members who use the service to harm original content owners will be removed.”
What do you think of BOLT?