[trigger warning: this post contains Bitstrips]
When starting the research for this post I decided to pay a visit to the Bitstrips website just to have a play around, in order to try and fathom just why the site has exploded in a huge way over the last couple of weeks. Lo and behold, its servers are overloaded; please try again later.
You know that expression, ‘from out of nowhere’? Bitstrips is even more ‘out of nowhere’ than that; like, it came from around the corner to out of nowhere. Like, on the other side of town to out of nowhere. From one day to the next, I had none of these images filling up my Facebook news feed, to every other bloody image on my screen being about it! Where did these buggers come from? Why so popular?
Glad you asked, MiniVin. Bitstrips was founded in 2008 by five comic fans and artists who wanted an easier way to create comics without having to redraw the same characters over and over again. According to BusinessWeek, it proved a real timesaver for its founder, a man named Ba.
“I had to make a lot of comics for this one project,” says Ba, adding that the less time he spent drawing the better the comic tended to turn out. “I thought, if you could only spend less time on the execution…”
Put like that, this is actually a very exciting way to make comics. If there’s one thing I wish I could do, it’s draw comics – and short of sending out begging emails to acquaintances who would be willing to draw my scripts, this would be such a good way to get started on my own comics.
Why yes they are, MiniVin – and that’s because the Bitstrips app was updated only this month to include an option to share user creations through social channels – which would be fair enough, except that not many of my Facebook acquaintances who use it are aware that they can add speech bubbles, leaving only the lame-ass captions below some rather inaccurate comic depictions of themselves in comical situations which have absolutely no context.
Nope – and while we’re at it, an awful, awful lot of these scenes have been directly lifted from Seinfeld.
Yup. While I normally wouldn’t recommend blocking anyone who uses Bitstrips on Facebook, it’s actually – like many things – a good idea turned bad by its overwhelming misuse and intention. If it does bother you, just block the app. If not, enjoy what is actually a pretty cool way to express yourself online.
Will you be using the Bitstrips app any time soon, MiniVin?