Thursday September 26, 2013 | 08:00 AM
Posted by Rob Gould

Twitter and Facebook are two of the most popular social networks out there today, offering users a convenient way to keep up with friends and the news of the world, but lately they've been offering a creative outlet, too.

A new comic-making application called Bitstrips is showing up more and more on Facebook walls and in Twitter feeds. Practically overnight, Bitstrips has become the social media application that everyone is buzzing about. Especially me. And, I can be annoying that way if I feel like you're not paying attention. So, listen up. This is really fun. I swear. 

"Basically, it's an app that turns you and your friends into a cast of cartoon characters," explains Jacob Blackstock, Bitstrips' chief executive and creative director. "Then you can take those characters and put them into crazy scenes." These are scenes that you can customize yourself, or you can simply go with one of the hilarious templates that Bitstrips provides you with on a daily basis.

Rob has powers. He's Grooming Man!

The first version of Bitstrips, launched at the South by Southwest interactive festival in 2008, was a digital comics toolkit site. Users could create a comic, a character or a scene using Bitstrips' art library and drag-and-drop tools. But from a dialogue perspective, it was essentially a blank slate.

Now, who really wants to think when you can just have fun? With the release of a Facebook app, professional cartoonists on the Bitstrips team began creating daily comics templates for users. Thus, the possibilities for engagement opened up enormously. The company's Facebook app, also "instantly, stratospherically eclipsed the boost we got from SXSW" by more than 6,000 percent, Blackstock says. Just a few months later, the app has about 8.4 million active users.

"Basically, it's an app that turns you and your friends into a cast of cartoon characters," explains Jacob Blackstock, Bitstrips' chief executive and creative director. "Then you can take those characters and put them into crazy scenes."

Poor Ian. I hate when that happens.

It really couldn't be easier. First you create an avatar of yourself with customizable hair, clothes and facial features. Then you can pick from hundreds of pre-made scenes to put your character in. From there, you can add captions and dialogue before sharing the cartoons with your social circle. Bitstrips are essentially a visual status update — users can depict how they're feeling or send messages to other friends. According to Blackstock, the flexibility of the app is what makes it so attractive to its users.

Go ahead, give it a try. It's wicked fun. Trust me, I speak from experience. Lots of experience.

Untethered and so easy to share!

To learn more about Bitstrips check out recent coverage of the app by both NPR and The Baltimore Sun.

You can find Bitstrips at: www.bitstrips.com/

You can find the Bitstrips Facebook app at: http://apps.facebook.com/bitstrips/

 

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Social media has changed the way that many of us learn, purchase, interact and explore the world around us. And, things are just getting started. Social, Social is a place to discuss social media with people from all walks of life. No experts allowed.

About the Author

Rob works as a digital marketing & public relations consultant to agencies, brands, and individuals. He has 20 years of marketing experience. He also currently serves in a volunteer capacity as director of pr/communications for TEDxDirigo. From 2005-2011, Rob served as director of social media & agency communications at The VIA Agency (Portland). Prior to VIA, Rob worked with several PR & advertising agencies in London & Boston. He is a graduate of The University of Vermont (UVM) and a Maine transplant (2002).

Follow Rob on Twitter at @bobbbyg

His real-life interests include art, travel, writing, design, psychology, the beach, & exercise (grudgingly at times).

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