Brizzly Makes a TwitFace

But do Facebook and Twitter belong together?
Another guest post by Carly Schwartz

Of all the social media aggregators out there these days, I was most excited to beta-test Brizzly, and not just because its icon is more adorable than the Snuggle bear. The program promises to simplify online social activity by allowing you to access Twitter and Facebook at the same time, on the same screen. As a longtime user of both platforms for very different purposes, my curiosity piqued. Is it possible to enjoy the benefits of both at once?

Brizzly offers a way to view your Facebook and Twitter accounts on the same webpage, dividing the two programs by tabs. Its clean interface makes for easy navigation of content. Users can even integrate up to five Twitter profiles into their Brizzly account and peruse the individual pages’ activity side-by-side.

Brizzly’s Twitter content looks almost exactly like Twitter’s webpage itself, with minor design tweaks (black stars instead of gold ones for favoring posts, lists moved to the lefthand side of the page instead of the right). Its Facebook content, however, is much more limited, displaying only news feeds, wall postings, and status updates—essentially Facebook’s most Twitter-esque features.

Perhaps the most compelling aspect of Brizzly is its ability to explain Twitter trends. Users simply click “why?” next to a topic, and Brizzly offers a concise explanation in a neat little pop-up box. This saved me the agony of scrolling through streams of 140-character gobbledygook to figure out why #sorrysorry appeared as the number one trend yesterday, as Brizzly quickly informed me it’s a reference to a hit single by Korea’s Super Junior, allegedly the world’s largest boy band. Fascinating stuff, I know.

Other useful Brizzly features include the ability to embed photos and videos into the actual Twitter stream (as opposed to accessing the content on a separate client like Twitpic) and the option of saving drafts of your tweets and Facebook status updates (not sure why anyone would want to, but it’s a nice touch). Its real-time updates feature also saves users from constantly refreshing their page, a flaw that plagues both Twitter’s and Facebook’s original websites.

While most of Brizzly’s positive attributes relate to its Twitter features, the majority of its problems have to do with Facebook. Its Facebook content prohibits users from updating their profiles, playing games, chatting, or engaging with any part of the program beyond the wall. When users click a link to access their Facebook photos, a new window opens up entirely, directing to their actual Facebook pages. Kind of defeats the purpose of accessing Facebook through a separate client.

Brizzly’s successful use of Twitter and limited integration of Facebook begs the question: Do Facebook and Twitter—or any differing social mediums, for that matter—belong together? As social media continues to evolve, will one network reign supreme, or do different programs serve different purposes?

I’ve been actively tweeting for more than a year, and on Facebook since [gasp!] 2004, and I use each platform for very different reasons. Though Facebook statuses are useful every now and then to brag about an impending vacation or vent about a tough day at the office, for me, the program is a vehicle for keeping in touch and communicating with friends. Whether chronicling photos, planning a party, playing a game of Scrabble, stalking a crush, or indulging in general vanity, Facebook is best suited as a means to socialize in the digital space.

Twitter, on the other hand, is an information aggregator extraordinaire. I use Twitter to read the news, stumble upon discounts, follow my favorite musicians and artists, share interesting tidbits, and monitor the general pulse of San Francisco. Of course, a few friends and I call each other out on inside jokes and upcoming plans, but I prefer to use Facebook for that.

Furthermore, as a member of the ad industry, I believe tools like Brizzly inhibit the potential to develop marketing programs across social platforms. Successful social campaigns take very different forms on Facebook (games, fan pages, gifts) than they do on Twitter (hashtags, retweets, customer relationship management). Integrating the two poses a significant challenge for marketers, who clearly want to move beyond display banner ads as the social space continues to grow.

Despite Brizzly’s earnest attempt to blend the two programs, I think they’re ultimately better off alone. Social networks will continue to grow and find their respective footings in the coming years. For now, there’s a place for Facebook and a place for Twitter, and although some of their features overlap, I’m not convinced they belong next to each other—even when joined by a mascot cute enough to turn my insides to oatmeal. 


  1. you're such a great writer! can't wait to try brizzly!

  2. Second that. Thorough approach and discussion of both platforms. Interesting to even the not so social network savvy.


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