With the increasing popularity of social networking Web sites such as Facebook and MySpace, the market for connecting people has started to spawn new sites with concepts beyond poking and adding friends.
B-wire.com, whose tagline is “networking humanity,” seeks to advance social networking by allowing users to list “contributions,” skills and “issues” or problems on their profiles. Todd Capps, son of 23rd District Congresswoman Lois Capps and late UCSB professor and congressman Walter Capps, founded b-wire.com in March.
Todd Capps said he launched the site with the intention of helping individuals connect, and that though many social networking sites exist on the Internet, b-wire is unique.
“We are aware of a lot of sites that encourage activism toward an idea or goal,” Todd Capps said. “We are inviting the other half to participate: people that need help.”
For example, b-wire’s help-distributing application allows users to search categorically for people with certain “contributions” or “issues” in order to ask for or provide help in various fields. Issues range from everyday problems such as gardening to more serious issues.
“There was one user who survived a deadly eating disorder,” Todd Capps said. “She was willing to help people through [similar situations].”
Freshman Miki Fukushima, a b-wire user, said the site is a mature alternative to existing social networking sites and addresses real world concerns.
“B-wire is kind of like the ‘adult’ version of Facebook that allows you to post all of your interests that you hope to pursue and talk about issues that are going around in the world or in your community,” Fukushima said.
B-wire Promotional Strategist Juliette Mutzke, a fourth-year global studies major, said the site employs a concept referred to as “paying it forward,” the act of repaying a good deed by passing it on to a third party, popularized by Robert A. Heinlein’s 1951 book, Between Planets.
However, Todd Capps said that the ultimate goal of the site is to encourage online communication in a grassroots fashion.
“We wanted to provide a hub for people to help each other out without an underlying agenda,” Todd Capps said. “[The site] is not preachy or trying to push an agenda.”