The latest annoying Facebook trend has hit, and it’s called Bitstrips. You may have seen these comics popping up over the last week, wherein your friends create animated version of themselves and others in “funny” or “wacky” situations. Mostly, they’re inside jokes that come with caricature versions of users.
These Bitstrip comics are flooding the social network. The app has already been downloaded by 11 million users and new cartoon character templates are being added quickly to keep up with the demand. Right now, it’s the top app in the iOS App Store and the Google Play Store. Just let that sink in for a moment.
The demand is puzzling. This is literally an app that lets you add word bubbles and one-liners to an avatar of yourself. Its success is mind-boggling. It’s not a game, there’s no real function … it’s like making a Wii character and then using Facebook through it. So it’s Second Life built into Facebook. (Making it third life? I can’t. I don’t even know anymore.)
To wax philosophical for a second: It’s almost like Facebook has become too real for us. We’ve started to feel like the things that happen there and the conversations we have are “real life.” Living out these activities through cartoon versions of ourselves injects the virtual back into it.
It’s all very juvenile-looking, too. It makes Farmville look like an e-game of chess. And there’s something that feels like reverse engineering here: Why use a comic to create an avatar for your Facebook profile to make an update about your mood in the box where you would normally write a status update? Are we adding more steps to this social networking thing?
Whatever the reason for Bitstrips’ viral popularity, it’s definitely becoming an annoying News Feed filler for most of us. If you’re one of the aggravated masses, it is incredibly simple to block from your account. Simply click the pull down in the right-hand corner and select “Hide all from Bitstrips.”