What is Bitmoji?

Bitmoji lets you create personalized emojis to spice up your online chats

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Bitmoji’s mission is to make the ubiquitous emoji more personal. While competitors like Apple’s Memoji and Samsung’s AR Emoji are on the rise, Bitmoji remains a particularly popular option for creating your own emoji that looks just like you. Here’s everything you need to know.

What is Bitmoji?

Bitmoji is a secondary social media app that people use to create little cartoon versions of themselves, which they then use on their various social media accounts. It’s a very simple service: You simply create an avatar of yourself, and assemble various comics, GIFs, expressions, and reactions that use this avatar. Then, when you are communicating with someone in a chat or email, you can use your Bitmoji to express yourself. That’s it!

Over time, Bitmoji have become popular with people who have tired of the generalized emojis available on their apps, and want something more interesting and personal. The company provides various updates and themes, like special options for sports events or holidays, that you can occasionally switch between as you desire. Otherwise, part of the charm is the simple focus — this is Bitmoji’s only service, and there are very few add-ons.

How did Bitmoji begin?

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While it is currently owned by Snapchat, Bitmoji was originally developed by the company Bitstrips, from Toronto, Canada. Founded in 2007, Bitstrips was focused on creating digital comic strips that featured personalized avatars, a concept very similar to Bitmoji.

Once emojis became more popular and found their place online in various chat apps, Bitstrips realized the potential. The company created a separate app called Bitmoji in 2014, designed to specialize in these emojis. The big apps were quick to notice the potential in Bitmoji: In 2016, Snapchat’s parent company, Snap Inc., bought Bitstrips, shut it down, and began running Bitmoji as a sole division.

Where are Bitmoji used?

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While Snapchat may own the company, you can still use Bitmoji on a variety of platforms. They are available on Facebook, Gboard, iMessage, and even work-oriented apps like Slack. Bitmoji are also Chrome-friendly and work with Gmail as well. There are also a few unique uses for Bitmoji that Snapchat is trying out, such as Bitmoji for games

Note that you do not need Snapchat to use Bitmoji. It’s a separate app that you can download for iOS or Android. However, if you do use Bitmoji with Snapchat, you gain access to Friendmoji, which are personalized little Bitmoji between you and a close friend, which is neat.

How do I create my own Bitmoji?

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Download the app, and get started making an avatar. If you’ve created a personalized digital avatar for other platforms, this process will be familiar for you. You pick out a skin shade, hair color, hair style, jawline, chin, nose, eyes, eyebrows, and so on. One reason that Bitmoji are so popular is that the app provides a lot of options for personalization in this area, so it’s worth some time to get right: A common refrain from successful customization is, “How does your Bitmoji look so much like you?”

From there, you have a whole lot of options to customize your Bitmoji stickers and comics. You can dress them in various outfits, put them in a variety of scenes, create innumerable stickers with different postures and expressions, and so on (you can also switch the overall style). Then, when you’re ready, pick one and paste it all over your social media app of choice to add flavor to a conversation.

The ultimate goal is to create a Bitmoji “keyboard” with all your favorite Bitmoji stickers on it, so you can quickly bring it up and use them in the middle of a conversation. Bitmoji offers an option to enable this keyboard in its settings. Remember, you can always go back and change your Bitmoji if you are unhappy with the results.

Are there any costs or risks associated with Bitmoji?

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Bitmoji charges a small amount for certain clothing packs, especially special event clothing packs that celebrate specific people, teams, or holidays. Usually, these only cost around $1. Otherwise, there’s no cost associated with using Bitmoji at this time.

As for risks: When you try to enable a Bitmoji keyboard on your device of choice, you’ll probably get a few warning pop-ups that you’ll have to get past before installing the keyboard. Naturally, that might give you pause. These warnings are making sure that you know Bitmoji needs a live server connection to upload your personalized stickers, and also needs to be watching, from a broad perspective, what you are doing in your social media apps. However, Bitmoji itself can’t read anything that you are typing, it just needs to be connected to your app to work. Theoretically, this could make it easier for hackers to gain access to your data, but no one has ever hacked Bitmoji like this that we know of.

However, Bitmoji itself may be collecting a bit of extra information from Snap-related apps, according to its own privacy policy. That means if you use Snapchat or other Snap apps, Bitmoji may be collecting some behavior data from you, which Snapchat may be able to use or sell to others.

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