Social network visualizers are often fun and usually pretty, but sometimes they don't actually let you see your Twitter or Facebook networks in a new way. Fizz is a simple yet appealing "pop-cultural instrument for data expression and exploration" from Bloom (that quote is their company tagline), and surprisingly, it really does offer a fresh view on our social networks. Check it out:
Fizz offers an amusing angle: pointing out the blabbermouths.
OK fine, it's no mindboggling 3D-ified wormhole of dataviz — as Fizz's barebones instructions say, "Big circles are people, small circles are their status updates" — but to me that's a feature, not a bug. Fizz works fast, is instantly understandable, and (for me, at least) offers an amusing angle on my Twitter network that I'd never quite noticed before: namely, pointing out the blabbermouths. As you can see, the one or two folks I follow with an outsized amount of Tweety output are instantly recognizable as big, overstuffed bubbles in the overall fizzy mass.
You can drag and drop and fling the bubbles around onscreen to make them more clickable/readable. Fizz's live search function is also neat: start typing in the little box, and the entire bubbling screen bursts alight, then ebbs back down as your search term becomes more specific and only a few tweets are left highlighted. Here's what a search for "design" in my network looks like:OK, that's not really a surprise.
My Twitter network is relatively small, but one can imagine Fizz being more powerful for people who follow hundreds or thousands of feeds. A company with a big stake in social media might even use it as a kind of internal leaderboard for its employees, publicly displaying the relative "sizes" of their presences on the network. (Paging Larry Page?) That's what I like about Fizz: it looks toylike at first, but its design runs deep.