Brizzly reviewer’s guide

brizzly-app-logo

About Brizzly

Brizzly is a new web-based social media reader. It currently works with Twitter and Facebook, and adds cool features like:

  • inline display of video, images and maps
  • lists (a.k.a. “groups”)
  • multiple account support
  • multiple drafts
  • muting
  • trending topics with context

About the Team

Brizzly is built and maintained by the six-person team at Thing Labs, Inc. in San Francisco, Calif. Thing Labs is led by CEO and founder Jason Shellen and VP of Engineering Chris Wetherell, founding members of the team that launched Google Reader.

What’s in this guide

Getting started

Features

Twitter-only features

Facebook-only features

Getting started

Creating an account

In order to create your Brizzly account, either visit http://brizzly.com/signup or go to http://brizzly.com and click the “Sign up” button.

From there, you’ll be asked for:

  • a new Brizzly username, which will serve as your Brizzly login
  • your email address
  • a password to use on Brizzly.

Once you enter the required information, click either the Twitter or Facebook button to associate with your account.

Logging in

If you’ve already got an account, just click “log in” or visit http://brizzly.com/login.

When you first log in, what you see should look familiar – we’re presenting information largely in the same timeline-style format that Twitter and Facebook do. However, you’ll quickly noticed that we’ve added a number of enhancements.

Brizzly home

Brizzly home

Features

Expanded links, photos, videos & maps

You’ll see that the first tweet in the timeline above contains a link. The original tweet looked like this, with a shortened bit.ly URL:

Link on twitter.com

Link on twitter.com

We expand short links from bit.ly, ow.ly, tinyurl.com, tr.im, xrl.us and other popular URL shorteners so you know what you’re clicking on.

Brizzly automatically embeds linked videos from YouTube and Vimeo. Videos can be played inline:

Expanded YouTube video

Expanded YouTube video

We also display photos posted to Flickr, TwitPic, yfrog and more (including links to .gif, .jpg, .jpeg, .mng and .png files):

Expanded photo

Expanded TwitPic photo

We’ll show you Google Maps, too:

Expanded Google map

Expanded Google map

Trends and news

The right-hand column shows the top 10 current trending topics from Twitter, along with a brief user-editable explanation of the selected topic:

Trends and news, with explanations and links to search

Trends and news, with explanations and links to search

If we don’t have a trend explanation, we prompt users to “be the first to explain this trend.” Once one has been submitted, it appears. Clicking “why?” shows the explanation; clicking “search” performs a search for tweets mentioning the trending keyword.

Languages

Currently Brizzly is available in English, French, German, Japanese, Korean and Portuguese with plans for Italian and Greek in the near future. To change the language, visit the “Settings” page from within Brizzly and make your selection there.

Twitter-only features

Uploading photos

You can easily upload and share photos on Brizzly. Click the camera icon below the update box, select a photo from your computer, and upload. A link to the photo will be automatically pasted into the update box

Photo uploaded, editing the accompanying tweet

Photo uploaded, editing the accompanying tweet

Once you write some accompanying text (or not), click update to publish the tweet as usual. Brizzly users will see your photo inline, of course:

Tweet w/Brizzly pic

Tweet w/Brizzly pic

…and everyone else will see a link to this page, where your photo now lives. Photos (though not shown in this screenshot) will show view counts:

Brizzly pic

Brizzly pic

Direct messages

Brizzly brings the easy readability of IM conversations to direct messaging. When you receive a direct message, you’ll see a notification above the “Trends and news” section. You’ve got the option to view or hide the message. Once you reply, your conversation is “threaded” with the oldest message at the top:

Threaded direct messages

Threaded direct messages

Even if you’ve “shhh”ed a message, you can always see your inbox and sent messages in the left-hand navigation. To send a new direct message, click “Create a direct message” from the left-hand menu. Alternatively, you can hover over a user icon, click the arrow, and then click the “Message” button.

Drafts

Not ready to send a tweet? Click “save draft” and we’ll hold onto it until you are. Click “drafts” at the top of your timeline to see all of your saved drafts. (Note: if you’re using multiple accounts, the drafts aren’t tied to any particular account. A draft will be sent from whichever account you’ve got selected when you send it.)

Multiple accounts

You can use up to five Twitter accounts in Brizzly. To add an account, go to Settings > Add another Twitter account. You’ll be taken through the Twitter OAuth process again.

To see the Twitter timeline of one of your accounts, just click the icon displayed above the timeline. Click again to view your own profile.

Muting

If you want to hide updates from anyone you follow on Twitter (while still following him or her), you can hover on his or her user icon, click the arrow, and then click the “Mute” button. You can re-enable updates from Settings > Twitter accounts.

Lists

You can group people you follow (and even those you don’t!) into lists on Brizzly to view sub-timelines. Click on a user’s icon, then click “Edit lists.” From there, you can create new groups or add to ones you’ve already created. Alternatively, you can click “Add a new group” from the left-hand menu. We make use of Twitter’s list feature, so we’ll pull in any lists you already created on http://twitter.com (and add the ones you create on Brizzly to Twitter).

To view a list, click on the name of the group in the left-hand menu. If you’ve got more than three lists, click “All lists” to see your complete set of lists.

Groups

Groups

Facebook-only features

Recent activity

“Recent activity” shows Facebook posts you’ve participated in by liking or commenting, as well as posts you’ve made that your friends have commented on or liked.

Facebook recent activity

Facebook recent activity