By Ruksana Hussain
If you haven’t heard, the new kid on the block is Vizify. Some people love it and some not so much. But the new social media entrant is creating quite a buzz. The Portland, OR headquartered company, founded in 2011 by Todd Silverstein, Eli Tucker and Jeff Cutler-Stamm, is a successful graduate of tech start-up incubators Techstars (Seattle) and Portland Seed Fund, rounding up respectable investments in start-up capital and support from well-trusted industry names. Vizify is like your own personal website, minus the trouble of actually creating one. You sign up for an account using one of five social media channels from which it currently pulls content, and all your information is displayed in different pages categorized by education, work, places you’ve called home, etc. You can choose to connect with as many channels as you like and there is an edit option on all pages that you can use to customize the information displayed.
Vizify sure piqued my interest—I found it easy to use and I don’t know of any other service really that combines all your major online presences in one place in such a visually appealing manner. However, other than using it maybe as an email signature link, I’m not sure how else it really helps what I was doing with the separate social media channels anyway. I am a social media embracer, though, so I’d like to see what features Vizify has in the works over the next few months that makes it more relevant and to a larger audience than just the social media community. Updates to data are done on a biweekly basis. You receive an update summary and can choose to share those update to your Vizify profile. You can manually refresh your data by disconnecting or reconnecting the service (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare, Instagram) in question.
I spoke to Co-Founder and CEO Todd Silverstein who shared his inputs on the vision and inspiration behind Vizify and how they hope users will benefit from the services. “Vizify is where you can make great first impressions. This is your landing page to you as a person…Vizify was created because there was no one place out there that this could be done. It is easy to use, easily editable, focusing on what is curated, what is most popular.” The site currently accepts links from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare, and Instagram and is looking at adding Google+ to the basket, but not Pinterest yet since there is no public API available. “We will continue to grow in the New Year, we have so much more to roll out—premium accounts will be announced. We are still on beta services but we plan on solidifying the product and offering our full proposition, more page types, services, visualizations, blogs, and audio and visual features,” said Silverstein.
I reached out to see what some social media users had to say about Vizify. I did find a few true vizifianados and some not so convinced of its so-called benefits.
“Vizify serves as an aggregator of sorts for all your social media profiles. This can really come in handy if someone is searching for you and wants a comprehensive look,” says Andrew Schrage, co-owner of Money Crashers Personal Finance. “I like the fact that you can link all of your other social media accounts to your Vizify page, and I like that setting up a page on Vizify doesn’t take much time. It works much faster than other social media portals, and the fact that it’s free is certainly nice. But you don’t have the opportunity to “friend” or follow other people. It seems as though Vizify has a ways to go, but I do feel that it has a great deal of potential.”
Kathryn Hough, a social media consultant and content strategist working on her startup, Huedio, agrees. “Vizify is the best profile alternative for people who want to control the images that communicate their professional value in an increasingly visual digital world. Vizify’s new partnership with BrandYourself will help users get their profile on the front page of Google when people search for their name. I use Vizify for personal branding. I love the email signature. Vizify pulls in all of my existing profiles and content. All I have to do is make a few small changes. Most people are using this to add a creative flair to their professional profiles online.”
Meanwhile, social media and Internet analyst Brad Hines has his apprehensions. “I joined Vizify using four of five networks—giving no richness to my profile. They have done something smart in their startup impetus in that they jumped on the OAuth API trend and are trying to figure out how to better use our existing social media data. But the site collectively doesn’t add anything improved over the individual social media networks it pools from, despite its visual style. They need to make their function more relevant by giving more useful and interpretive uses of the data they pull, and they need a more classic design.”
Caleb J. Spivak, social media and community manager for North American Properties in Atlanta, shares, “I was made aware of Vizify when Mashable first wrote about the social site in July, 2012. It’s the only platform I’m aware of that brings all your personal social sites to one public dashboard. And everyone loves infographics, especially when they’re about you! It’s a web page alternative—requires little effort, design, content, and it’s free to use. But there needs to be a brand version of Vizify. In my opinion, their biggest flaw might also be their greatest feature: you’re forced to ensure all of your personal information on your social sites is current.”
Looks like the next few months and any new features Vizify rolls out will help us understand if this is a hit or a miss. So are you on Vizify? How are you using it for your personal branding efforts?
Ruksana Hussain is an Atlanta-based independent communications professional specializing in writing and reporting, proofreading and editing, for print and online media outlets. Her work has appeared in several publications and can be viewed at www.ruksanawrites.com.
Updates to data are done on a biweekly basis. You receive an update summary and can choose to share those updates to your Vizify profile. You can manually refresh your data by disconnecting or reconnecting the service (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare, Instagram) in question.