Talking Tech Friday – Bitstrips

This week’s topic was recommended by Christine Pearson, who saw it at SXSW – I love taking recommendations!

What is it?

Bitstrips is an online comic strip creation site. Users can view comics created by others, as well as create their own. It also works as a social networking site – you create your own profile, can have a network of friends, and send messages within Bitstrips. You can also subscribe to a series or author within Bitstrips

How does it work?

You create your ubiquitous profile, which thankfully isn’t very detailed. Then you can have some fun.

The first thing Bitstrips encourages you to do is create your own avatar. This is much like making a Mii – you go through a series of choosing basic models. Then you can customize it in more detail – though there isn’t an overwhelming number of options.

You can also make avatars for your friends to entice them to join Bitstrips.

To make a comic, you can create your own characters, or use some from a library of pre-made characters. The character builder is just like the avatar builder.

You build your comic panel by panel – drag a character either from your creations or the library. You can alter their mood by clicking on emotes on the side (frowny face, smiley face, etc.), then add some text in the speech bubble.

If you go to the advanced editor, you can set out a layout in advance, choose from a scene library, props, different types of speech bubbles, and controls to alter the pose and angle of your characters. There are also camera controls to alter the way everything looks.

Here’s my attempt:

There are also options to email your strip, embed it, automatically share it on sites like MySpace, Facebook, Reddit, etc. You can leave comments on someone’s strip, and flag it as funny/not funny. Go ahead and let me know what you think of mine – be honest, I can take it!

Possible Library Uses

This would definitely be a fun programming idea for youth services. There are options for blocking mature or offensive content in your account, including being able to limit this by type of offensive content (e.g. hateful, sexual, religious, etc.), so it would be useful to educate your patrons about those options.

I think it could also be useful to add a little character to a website – it’s easy to embed a comic on a different webpage (even WordPress, amazingly enough!). I like several of the ideas I read about in the reviews below.

I have to admit, this isn’t the sort of thing that appeals to me personally – I’m not very creative. I do enjoy comics, though, and there are some pretty funny ones that have been created by other people. You could probably get some great ideas just browsing around and seeing what other people have done.

Reviews

Update – arg, having to wrestle with WordPress to display the comic. I take back what I said about it playing nicely with Bitstrips. Click through the comic to see the whole thing.

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~ by Anali on April 25, 2008.

One Response to “Talking Tech Friday – Bitstrips”

  1. This is pretty cool. I told one of our Youth staff about it and they’re going to see about using it for a Tween program. Thanks for the post Anali!

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