Become a Social Network Ninja with Brizzly

It’s another day and we have another ninja app lined up for your attention. Today’s social network ninja app is Brizzly that has been making waves with its acquisition of the Twitter iPhone app Birdfeed and making it available for free. Brizzly lets us manage two of the leading social networks, Facebook and Twitter. How best does it play? Well, let us go and see!


Overview

Overview

Sign Up

The sign up form at Brizzly is extremely simple with just three fields for you to fill. I particularly loved that you do not have re-enter your password again to verify it. Also, you can choose, if you, want to integrate your Twitter account or Facebook account from here; I clicked on Twitter.

Sign Up

Sign Up

You’ll have to activate the Brizzly account by clicking on the activation link sent to your email address. You’ll be greeted with an error page if you have not jumped through this hoop.

Verification

Verification

Twitter Sign in error page before activating

Twitter Sign in error page before activating

Now here comes the annoyance number one. I’ve selected to integrate a Twitter account in the very first step itself. Yet, I was again asked to choose after the verification process. A bug maybe?

Sign up AGAIN after verification

Sign up AGAIN after verification

The second time seems to be the charm; I was directed to the Twitter OAuth approval page. Your login credentials are not stored at Brizzly.

OAuth Approval

OAuth Approval

Brizzly was very direct and open, letting me know that it might take some time while they are pulling up all the data from the Twitter stream. Even though they say that the process could take a minute or two, I found it to be much quicker.

The Wait Page

The Wait Page

Okay, now comes annoyance number two. After all these somersaults, do you get to see the Twitter stream or the dashboard? Nope. Brizzly wants to “enlighten” you before boarding their app rocket. Haven’t we seen and ignored the “Learn more” option thing in the homepage itself? Why so serious Brizzly? Most of us learn by trial and error.

Post post twitter sign in still no dashboard

Post post twitter sign in still no dashboard

Finally we are then redirected to the dashboard which, even at the very first glance, looks great and tastefully designed.

User Interface and Dashboard

Brizzly sports a stylish three column layout a la the Facebook news feed page. Your entire Twitter stream is organized under four categories on the left.

Dashboard (finally)

Dashboard (finally)

Pictures and videos in tweeted links are organized in tabs for easier access. This is a feature every Twitter client should add as people are sharing more pictures and videos every day. If there are any new updates in any of the sections, you will be alerted by a cute blue dot by the side. Neat. 

New Twitter accounts can be integrated by clicking on the Add another Twitter account link.

You can add and monitor up to five Twitter accounts in Brizzly.

Profile

The profile page is adequate and it displays the standard set of information like follower and following count, favorite tweets, lists, etc.

Profile Page

Profile Page

I found a glitch with the follower count displayed by Brizzly. As you can see, the Brizzly profile says I have 11 followers, however, the Twitter profile page says I have 10 followers. My ego would have been satisfied with a hundred more followers but alas I received only +1.

Wrong Follower Count

Wrong Follower Count

You can delete your tweets from this page. Also, I deleted my Twitter profile picture and Brizzly had a very hard time reloading the default Twitter profile image.

Mentions

All your @replies and mentions are listed in this page. Brizzly has an interesting feature here. If you click on the “?” icon, the details of the person who sent the tweet are shown.

Mentions

Mentions

You can reply back from this page itself. Pics can be uploaded from the PC directly. Surprisingly there is no built in URL shortener here. 

If you find someone to be annoying with a whole lot of updates or mentions, just click on their profile icon to bring up the mute menu. From here, you can either unfollow them or choose to mute them. With the mute option, you will not see his/her tweets in the homepage anymore.

Mute

Mute

Direct Messages

All your sent and received DM’s are listed under this category. Creating a DM is such an easy task; click on the Create a direct message link and type the name of the person. You will then be shown a list of people from your contacts to choose from.

Direct Messaging

Direct Messaging

Once you click on the name of the person, a composing window for the DM shows up on the right hand side of the page.

Creating a DM

Creating a DM

The DM conversation is designed in such a way that it looks like a regular IM chat. Hands down, this is a great idea by the Brizzly team. Also, once you receive a DM, it’s hard to miss with the blinking profile pic notice — a nice idea and a brilliant execution indeed.

Lists

You can create public or private lists from the Brizzly dashboard.

List Creation

List Creation

The Brizzly team has added the same magic when adding members to the list you have just created. Just start typing the the first few letters of the username and the contact’s username will be listed for you to choose from. Sweet.

Adding members to list

Adding members to list

The search bar at the top of the page works in the same manner too.

Saved Searches

Creating a saved search works like in any other app. However, there is no option to view multiple search results in a column view. This seriously cripples the usability of the web app.

Creating a Saved Search

Creating a Saved Search

Saved Search

Saved Search

Tweeting

No mind blowing features in the tweet window — actually it looks pretty deserted. No URL shortener (What? Why?) and no tweet scheduling either.

Tweeting

Tweeting

Unsent tweets can be saved as drafts and these drafts can be viewed from the drafts tab at the home page.

Trends and News

Trends

Trends

Okay. This is by far the best trends and news section design I have seen in a web app. Trends are listed on the right side of the page. And if you click on the “Why?” link, you can see a description of the trend. These descriptions are pulled from the Brizzly guide, which is like a wiki any user can edit.

Adding a Facebook Account

You can add your Facebook account and update your status message from the Brizzly dashboard, though it’s a three pronged process. First you will have to integrate your Facebook account via fbconnect, then you will have to allow the app to publish, then you will have to allow it for offline access. This time the circus master is Facebook and Brizzly is not responsible for these hoops.

Facebook Approval

Facebook Approval

Facebook Recent Activity

Facebook Recent Activity

You can update your status, see the recent activity of you & your friends, view the wall and add comments from here. However, you cannot post the same status update to Facebook and Twitter at the same time, like you can in Hootsuite.

Final Thoughts

With the profile pic, Brizzly struggled like a drunken man walking on a slippery slope. After I deleted the profile pic from my Twitter homepage, my Brizzly profile pic either did not load or my old pic was loaded. This flickering match continued throughout my review (about three hours or so) even after force refreshing the page.

Lack of columns and a URL shortener are huge disappointments. Now that Twitter has started filling the holes in its feature set, it’s imperative that the Brizzly team fills these obvious holes in their app. Brizzly does have some bright ideas but that could only garner them a 7/10 from me.


Summary

Twitter and Facebook. Simpler. Easier. See and share photos, videos and more. Keep up on trends and news.

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