Friday, October 25, 2013

Life is So Much More Fun When It's in Comic Form


How many of you have seen these types of pictures on Facebook recently?  People showing status messages using funny little cartooned versions of themselves?  

Well, I started seeing them pop in to my feed last weekend, but didn't think much of it.  Then, I started to see more and more of them as the week progressed, so I decided to look in to this Bitstrips thing.  And I was ecstatic when I found out that it was a completely FREE app I could download on to my iPhone.

Basically Bitstrip is an app that allows you to create an avatar for yourself and friends, and then provides funny little scenarios for the avatars to be plugged in to.  The captions are all editable, and speech bubbles can even be added to the scenes if wanted.

I downloaded it yesterday, and I've been having a lot of fun with it.  I started out with something simple...


Then, I decided to add Hubby in to the fun...without his consent, but I didn't need it...


Poor Hubby.  That's actually a pretty decent representation of life in my house every evening.  

The more I played around, though, I noticed that there are HUNDREDS of scenes to create status messages with...and I spent a long time just sifting through my options.

I came across a certain picture that would be perfect for a friend and me.  A couple of weeks ago, I had participated in a Facebook meme that asked friends to make up a way that we met.  It had to be a lie...and the fun began.  My friend had posted that we met in prison.  So, when I saw this next picture, I just had to create an avatar for her and post it on her Facebook wall...


After the whole prison story on Facebook, we joked around with each other about how we are so alike that if either of us ever did end up in jail, the other would be there too.  And, my friend joked around how we were like Thelma and Louse.  So...upon stumbling across another was perfect, once again...


I had so much fun making these little scenes.  While messing around, I thought about what a great tool this could be in the classroom.  The kids could make their own avatars, find a scene to plug themselves in to, and then create a story based on the scene..or even a couple of scenes.  I think kids would have a blast coming up with some stories based on scenes they created.  I've printed out pictures for them before, to use for their writing, but how much more fun would it be if they were the star in the picture?  In fact, they could make their own little books with Bitstrips...and writing in the story on each page.  

Another project I'm giving myself this weekend is to figure out the best way to use this in the classroom.  There has to be a computer version or something like that....or it may come down to me making avatars for all my kids and self selecting scenes for them to write about.  Almost like giving them writing prompts.

The app provides the ability to look up scenes based on feelings, events, and places.  So, when I was perusing the feelings section, I had to laugh out loud when I saw this one...


Of course, this picture probably wouldn't be appropriate to show in the classroom...because I bet a million dollars not a single one of my students has ever seen Risky Business, and so they would just assume it's a picture of me in my underwear.

Even when I was tired and ready for bed, I had to come up with a Bitstrip to tell the world about it...


I've posted more on my Facebook wall in the past 24 hours than I have in weeks.  I don't really post many status updates.  Maybe one a day...or every other day.  I just don't think that everyone I'm friends with cares that much about what I'm doing.  But, it's a whole new ball game when I'm saying it with funny comic strips.

If I woke up this morning and posted "I need coffee", nobody would care.  That's just boring.  But, when I get to say the same status like this...


That makes it a lot more fun.  I can only imagine how many people saw that on my Facebook this morning and smiled or nodded their head in agreement.  The message I want to convey when I post "I need coffee" is given off loud and clear when I look like a zombie scaring the bejeezus out of some poor guy.

And, right before I came on here to write, I made this little strip...


Of course, it would have been more accurate had it been a laptop in front of me...but the message is still conveyed.

For being a free app, it is definitely something worth checking out if you're in the market for something to just waste a little time on.  There are a few minor kinks that I hope they fix...information overload being one of them.  Because so many people are now trying it out, the server crashes A LOT and it takes several attempts to get my status pictures to post.  I have also received a lot of ERROR messages when trying to look at several of the strips due to too many people being on the server. But, I'm sure the creators didn't really know how popular their little app would become.

Also, even though the options to create the avatars can depict a pretty close representation of the person, the options for clothing is extremely limited.  You can pick an outfit, but have no control over colors...and the options that are given are slim pickings.  Also, I was a little miffed when I realized that when you change the color of the hair, it changes ALL of the hair colors.  For example, Hubby has pink hair.  Yes.  Pink.  I can't portray that in his avatar, however, because even though pink is an option to choose from - it also changes the color of his eyebrows and goatee.  He doesn't have pink eyebrows or a pink goatee, so I had to make his hair the natural color.  Again, minor problem and definitely not enough to turn me away from using the app.

I also really love that you can create comics with friends on Facebook...with our without their permission.  If they haven't created an account for themselves, you can create one for them.  You just hunt for the friend you want to use, set up their avatar, and BAM..they are in.  If they have already set up an avatar for themselves, then you can use that one.  

I'm not sure how many people would be OK with that.  There may be some people who don't want a cartoon character made, but if you're friends with them on Facebook...they are open targets.

So, yeah, that's what I spent a small portion of my time messing around with yesterday.  Today, I have to get some work done.  I'm also going out this evening to the last football game of the season, and it's going to be COLD.  Nothing like spending a cold evening sitting on concrete bleachers, am I right?

OK, that's enough for me for one day.

Have an awesome Friday!!


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