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.
No offense, Tim! I follow you for a reason.
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.