Facebook seriously needs its own Bitmoji

Facebook seriously needs its own Bitmoji
From TechCrunch - October 10, 2017

Your Facebook profile used to be the online version of you. But over the past year, Bitmoji has usurped Facebook to become the preferred way to share your identity over the web.

The Facebook profile assembles a collection of text and real-world photos into a fixed set of poses, making it more of a snapshot of the offline you ported into the digital realm rather than a vision of you purposefully designed for the Internet. It worked well enough for the desktop era when we asynchronously stalked each others online representations and had the time and screen space to consume a lot of information.

But the modern mobile era is more about communication than representation. We need succinct and flexible versions of our identity for rapid-fire messaging and visual storytelling. You cant cram your whole Facebook profile into a video just to tell someone what youre up to, but inserting just a profile pic feels generic and far from vivid. Facebooks missing something.

BitmojiIdentity For Visual Communication On Mobile

Bitmoji let you communicate not just who you are, but what youre doing and how youre feeling in a single instantly recognizable image. With Bitmoji,you custom-design a cartoony avatar to look like your ideal self, and are then offered near-infinite poses of that avatar in any situation you could imagine, from blowing a kiss to flying a jetpack. You can then use these both within text messaging as well as photos or videos.

At first, way back in 2008, Bitmoji seemed like a joke. It was just a way to let you star in Bitstripslittle comic strips you could storyboard yourself. But most people didnt need or have the time to make such involved content. Yet Bitstrips co-founder and CEO Jacob BA Blackstock saw the potential early, telling AdWeek Its like youre the medium.

The breakthrough would come six years later when Bitstrips spun off a separate Bitmoji app that let you turn your avatar into stickers for use in messaging. They were personalized emoji. Still, by then social media had started to shift to visual communication via Snapchat Stories.

In one of Snap CEO Evan Spiegels smartest moves, the company paid just $64.2 million to acquire Bitstrips, and quickly integrated Bitmoji directly into Snapchat. Suddenly you could overlay your avatar onto your photos and videos, projecting your feelings and actions into social media. Regardless of whether you were camera shy, disheveled, or just couldnt get the perfect photo of yourself, you could still communicate visually with your identity.

And for the 14 months since then, Bitmoji has hovered in the top 10 iOS App Store charts, often claiming #1 even above its parent company Snapor Facebooks family of apps.

Facebooks Avatars, Trapped In VR

Despite Facebooks willingness to clone Snapchat with Instagram Storiesand Facebook Storiesand Messenger Day and WhatsApp Status, it still has no rival to Bitmoji. Thats surprising considering communicating your real identity online is what allowed Facebook to vanquish Myspace and become a ubiquitous utility. Its such an important concept, youd think Facebook would fight harder to protect its dominance.

Thats not to say the company hasnt been experimenting. The problem is its all been in VR.


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