What is Bitmoji?

Emojis provide us with a whole new world of expressiveness when we’re online, but they aren’t exactly personal. Fortunately, Bitmoji allows us to customize our characters to create incredibly realistic depictions of ourselves to share with our friends and family — and without losing any of the appeal of emoji.

So, what exactly is a Bitmoji, and how can you use them? We have everything you’ll need to know in this article.

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?

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?

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?

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.

Sharing Bitmoji

To share Bitmoji, you can either enable the Bitmoji keyboard within your messaging application of choice or share stickers directly from the app itself. To send emojis in-app, just open the Bitmoji app, tap on the sticker you’d like to send, and select your messaging app of choice from the pop-up list. You’ll enter the recipient on the next screen, and that’s it. Sharing within your favorite chat or text app requires you to enable the keyboard in your settings. The one-time activation means you can then send Bitmoji from all your communication apps.

Are there any costs or risks associated with Bitmoji?

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

Bitmoji alerts you upfront about potential risks that you will take when you install a Bitmoji keyboard. These warnings come as pop-ups that you must acknowledge before you can complete the process, so don’t say you weren’t warned. These warnings make sure you’re aware Bitmoji needs a live server connection to upload your personalized stickers. It 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 you are typing; It just needs to be connected to your app to work. Having access to your data with a live connection could potentially leave you exposed or otherwise facilitate hackers to steal personal information. Fortunately, there have been no instances of Bitmoji related hacks to date, so we don’t view these warnings as real threats to keep you up at night.

However, according to its privacy policy, Bitmoji may be collecting a bit of extra information from Snap-related apps. If you use Snapchat or its sister apps, Bitmoji could be looking at your behavior data (and saving it). Worse, Snapchat could choose to use the data or sell it to third parties. Of course, plenty of apps that have been around a while do the same thing. It’s up to you whether you’ll swap some level of privacy in exchange for awesome Bitmoji.

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