Entertainment

Bitstrips: Canadian app comic-izes your status

If you’ve been spending time lately on Facebook (and who among us hasn’t), you may have noticed cartoon versions of your friends popping up on your news feed from an app called Bitstrips. The app was released in 2012, but the company only came out with iPhone and Android updates in September. Now, the personalized comic app is exploding on Facebook, with more than 11 million downloads since its December 2012 launch.

Bitstrips allows you to interact with your friends through social media using comic messages and visual status updates. Here are five things you need to know about the most popular free app on iTunes right now:

1. Bitstrips is Canadian

“We’ve been completely overwhelmed by the enormous response,” said CEO, creative director and co-founder Jacob Blackstock (a.k.a BA). “We’re ecstatic that this new way to express yourself online is capturing people’s imagination in the way that it has.”

Even though Bitstrips first rose to prominence in Canada, the app has taken off around the world, from Europe to Latin America. It’s even been adopted by the Ontario school system for use in classrooms across the province.

2. You are the star

You can completely customize your avatar on Bitstrips, from adding in a wheelchair to changing the size of your pupils. You can then add your character into preset Bitstrips scenes; you can share these on Facebook or make greeting cards with them.

3. Your friends can join you in the comic strips

If your friends are on Bitstrips with their own avatars, you can add them into your own comic strips for fun, pre-set scenarios like, “Jane finally bores John to death,” with a comic of John leaving on a stretcher while Jane chats away.

4. You need to have Facebook to use Bitstrips

Like it or not, if you want to use Bitstrips you have to be game for letting the app post your comics on Facebook. You can change the privacy settings of your Bitstrips so your Facebook friends don’t see them, but they do get sent to your profile. The strips are meant to be used in lieu of a Facebook status or wall post, like, “John is excited to be going on vacation.”

5. You can change the Bitstrips scenes

While the background and positioning of the avatars will stay the same in given Bitstrips scenes, you can change facial expressions and text to make the strips your own.

For more info, visit bitstrips.com.

With files from Vawn Himmelsbach

TEMP by Douglas Coupland is a 20-day serialized work of fiction, running exclusively in Metro. Read it on site, in paper every weekday in November, and on the app. Also, follow TEMP on Tumblr for exclusive extra content.

TEMP by Douglas Coupland is a 20-day serialized work of fiction, running exclusively in Metro. Read it on site, in paper every weekday in November, and on the app. Also, follow TEMP on Tumblr for exclusive extra content.