BricaBox, according to Blake at ReadWriteWeb, is a new type of service that combines elements of social networking and content creation into a medium it calls a “social content platform”. What does that mean?
One way of answering that question is simply to read BricaBox’ manifesto. CEO Nate Westheimer blogged part 1 of the manifesto a couple of weeks ago. He started by contrasting “content platforms” (e.g., WordPress) with “social platforms,” (e.g., Ning). This is similar to my favorite web-characterizing contrast: the one between content and connection.
Nate went on to describe “social content sites” such as Flickr and Yelp. (Such sites are sometimes described as object-centered social networks.) That Nate describes such networks as sites is crucial. He argues that there is no platform enabling the creation of such sites. The lack of such a platform is the motivation and the opportunity for BricaBox.
[W]e have set off to create a universal social content platform: a way for anyone to create a social content website using any combination of tools and data sources, just as easily as someone can create a blog.
I got interested enough to pursue the best method of finding out what someone means by their characterization of their product or service: trying it. So I signed up for the beta and created a BricaBox: WPMU Sites. I’ve been thinking for a while about a better way to keep track of the many sites running WordPress Multi-User (WPMU) than the blog I’ve been using to do it (and have neglected for too many months now).
Based mainly on a couple of the early hours of this morning, I think that BricaBox may well be the right tool for this task. I certainly think it’s a better fit than Ning, which I considered for the task a month or two ago.
That’s not to say that BricaBox is better than Ning. Rather, it’s to reinforce Nate’s distinction between a social network platform (Ning) and a social content platform (BricaBox). Because of that distinction, I have to disagree with Mashable Kristen’s description of BricaBox as a Ning competitor.
Another distinction between BricaBox and most of the other web services mentioned in this post (and in the posts to which it links) is that BricaBox entered public beta a matter of hours ago. So it’s rougher around the edges than services that are out of beta (whatever beta means these days) or have been in public beta longer.
For me, BricaBox is one of the more interesting new web services. I expect to write more about it – but not in this post, which is already longer and later than I intended.