Bitstrips: Here To Stay Or The Next Fad?

Bitstrips: Here to Stay or the Next Fad?
Can you recall the days where you would get countless Facebook invitations to play Farmville, Pet Rescue Saga and Candy Crush? How about the hundreds of invitations to parties and events from your Facebook friends that you barely talk to anymore? Is your newsfeed filled with personal problems, obnoxious ‘selfies’ and incredibly ignorant status updates? Don’t worry, you are not alone … these are just some of the few things many of us detest about Facebook; and now, we can add Bitstrips to that list of extremely annoying things about Facebook.

By now, you’ve seen these animated comic strips all over your newsfeed featuring avatars of your friends in whimsical situations, but the question is: Does the app have staying power or is it the next fad?

History of Bitstrips
Bitstrips have come a long way since it originally launched at the 2008 SXSW. The app was initially referred to as the “YouTube for Comics.” The app was then integrated with Facebook in October of 2012, and went on to acquire 110,000 active users by December of that same year. Bitstrips’ real breakthrough came shortly after the launch of their mobile app on October 21st, 2013. Currently, the app is one of the top 5 free apps for iPhone, iPad and Android.

Why they’ve become so successful
At first glance, the little comic strips seemed slightly entertaining; but as time progressed, we realized how unwitty our friends truly were, how personal the comic strips were and how repetitive they became after a while. Of course, there are some decent Bitstrips out there but, for the most part, they seem to be mostly personal stories of previous events or inside jokes intended for a small group of friends.

So why did this avatar and comic creation platform suddenly explode? One word: Ego. People love to be in control of their own image and to portray that created image to their friends and followers. Instead of having your Facebook friends read your status updates about how your day is going or what events have occurred, they can now have a visual image of exactly what happened (or at least what you want the world to think happened.) One of the biggest gripes about social media is how phony it can be. Users can create an alternate image of what their lives are truly like by promoting only the positive elements of their lives. As a result, this can cause a lot of resentment from the people viewing this phenomenon, known as Facebook Image Crafting.

Social Media outlets are continually growing as a tool for narcissistic people to promote themselves and create their own brand; which, if done right, isn’t such a bad thing (especially in our society). We live in a world where popularity, connections and networking are extremely important and seemingly essential tools for success. People today simply cannot get enough of themselves and Bitstrips gives them another outlet to show off. It can be seen even in the avatars themselves, as they usually do not resemble their creators.

Future Plans

So can anything beneficial come from this app? Of course. Other than a time-wasting tool for the daily train ride to work or long lines at the DMV, Bitstrips may have some value in a promotional/marketing capacity. Although they may not seem to have much value to already established brands and companies, the comic strips may actually be quite helpful to some small businesses. Bitstrips can help small businesses create an avatar that can become the ‘face’ of their company, giving customers an image to envision when thinking about that company. This is even more useful if the company has a mascot or spokesperson that can be created on Bitstrips. That mascot can then be featured in adventures or funny moments through the comic strips. Bitstrips can become huge in defining the voice or image of the company. These short, mascot-based comic strips can really help the company’s fans have a better understanding of what the company’s voice is all about.

Bitstrips may also be helpful with increasing consumer engagement. A great idea would be for a small company to incorporate the avatar of one of their top customers into one of their comic strips. This could create a special bond between the company and its’ customers allowing them to feel as if they are a part of the brand.

In the future, the Bitstrips Company leaders have always seen the app as the next step for social media, as it brings life to the typical newsfeed. They have yet to use any advertising within their app, but are looking to explore native ads and create premium content that is purchasable within the platform. Eventually, they are looking to create “plush toys” of avatars for people so conceited that they would actually want a clone of themselves to cuddle with. No word yet on whether these toys can be used as voodoo dolls.

Will Bitstrips stay relevant or eventually dissipate?
So are Bitstrips here to stay? Only time will tell. Jacob Blackstock, the CEO of Bitstrips, has said “Bitstrips is hard to categorize because it’s not a game, it’s a new way to express yourself and interact with your friends. Instead of posting the same things as everyone else, you can create something that relates to your life.” I personally view Bitstrips as a new way to post a status update when you have extra time on your hands, or as a way to recreate a past event that you couldn’t capture with a camera at the time. Some of the comic strips have already begun to get under people’s skin, but they may have some worth to small companies. With the emphasis placed on image-creation and aesthetics continually increasing, the easy-to-use platform may be a perfect solution for small businesses that may not be able to afford a marketing team or graphic designer to create this type of content for them.

About The Author:
This article has written by Antonio Armenino - Fueled ( is the world’s premier development and strategy firm specializing in creating Android and iPhone apps.

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