“I never was very capable of expressing my feelings or emotions in words. I don’t know whether this is the cause of why I did it in music and also why I did it in painting. Or vice versa: that I had this way as an outlet. I could renounce expressing something in words.” Arnold Schoenberg.
Whether through painting, music or literature, human beings have always felt the need to express their emotions, and as the years pass so too do the ways in which we can express ourselves ─ with platforms, media and languages changing at the speed of light.
In 2016 we no longer need to express emotions such as anger in words, but can communicate this to our friends by simply sending them a face with steam coming out of its ears. And now we don’t even need to use ‘cartoon’ images like smiley faces ─ we can demonstrate emotions through increasingly realistic avatars of ourselves.
There is no way back ─ welcome to the Bitmoji universe!
After years of waiting with an almost adolescent thrill for a new batch of emojis to arrive on WhatsApp, we thought nothing could eclipse the emoji as a means of emotional expression. But this pales into comparison with the chance to express our feelings through a medium we love even more than small cartoon faces ─ ourselves. This is the key ─ personification is making screen to screen communication more ‘human’.
Those thoughts are sure to have passed through Jacob Blackstock´s mind ─ CEO of Bitsrips, the company that developed the Bitmoji app in 2012. Blackstock has said in a Business Insider article, “Texting is making conversation more convenient than ever, but it’s also stripped away a lot of the things that make communication human…We think one of the most important things that’s still missing is identity. If you think about history, 99 percent of human communication has been face-to-face.”
But, what is the Bitmoji app?
It leapt to prominence in 2016 when Snapchat bought Bitstrips for US$100 million. Since then, users have been able to personalise comments, photos or snaps with an avatar made in in their own image. The application also offers all kinds of extras ─ including clothing, gestures and funny scenes ─ so that each creation is ever-more personal. It means that your Bitmoji is an extension of yourself in the digital world.
Part of the appeal is the fact that the company can turn around new Bitmojis in around 24 hours ─ enabling them to keep pace with fast developing online trends.
To be honest, I never thought that an avatar could dethrone my beloved WhatsApp emojis ─ but I have to admit, I’m totally hooked. I love my Bitmoji, I love my Bitmoji’s clothes and like the good geek that I am, I love seeing myself ─ sorry, I mean my Bitmoji ─ sitting on the Iron Throne. ????