Bitmoji are cartoon keyboard avatars, in a variety of memes and themes, that let you express how you feel in almost all major messaging apps.
Update: Bitmoji has now been fully integrated with Snapchat. Here's how to quickly link your accounts:
A couple of months ago a friend of mine changed her avatar on Facebook into a cartoon likeness that, with head cocked aggressively, said "SRSLY?!". Since she's an artist, I just assumed she'd drawn it herself and, in Grey's Season One fashion, I quickly responded back, "SRSLY!"
Then another friend of mine sent me an iMessage that a similar cartoon likeness, this one with big, ballon letters saying, "Do you even Bitmoji?!"
I searched for it and immediately and found the Bitmoji keyboard app for iPhone. Then I started building Bitmoji Rene. Which was ludicrously fun.
Enabling the keyboard was a pain, of course. Apple still hasn't smoothed out the cumbersome Settings > General > Keyboards > Add New Keyboard > Bitmoji — pause to breathe — Bitmoji — Enable Full Access > Allow procedure.
(I'd love to be able to enable it from where they live in the pop-up Keyboard picker, the way you can enable Widgets from where they live in the Today view...)
Once installed, iOS won't let the Bitmoji inject images directly into text fields either. So, you tap an image, it gets copied, you tap and hold the text field, tap paste, and then you get the image. Yes, manually. Yes, like Bitmoji animal.
But it was still so much fun that, the moment I was done, I fired back a reply: "C'mon!"
The cool thing about Bitmoji is you don't just build one cartoon version of yourself, you build a set of characteristics that the app maps to dozens of cartoons. New ones rotate in and out all the time as well, for special holidays, for movie premieres, and simply for variety. Needless to say, I bombarded people with them. In iMessage. In Slack. Anywhere and everywhere I could.
From there it spread quickly to our editor-at-large, Georgia Dow — although based on the Bitmoji she created she fancies herself Jean Grey — and soon we were having entire conversations in Bitmoji.
My mother and sister created them as well, and soon they were sending me Bitmoji on a regular basis. My boss installed it and I was getting Bitmoji Kevin which, for anyone who's ever met Kevin, knows thats about as meta as you can get.
I've even had PR people send them to me once in a while. The reason why is simple — sometimes a picture really is worth a thousand emotions.
Slack takes Bitmoji just fine, though in the iPhone app it crops the tops and bottoms and you have to tap to expand the full image, if you want to.
Twitter's official app just added support for the copy/paste method. My preferred app, Tweetbot, doesn't surface the paste button for images, though. So, I have to save a Bitmoji first to the Photo library, then attach them to a tweet. Same thing for Facebook. Yes, also like a... never mind.
Pro tip: You can tap the Details button on an iMessage thread and quickly copy any of the dozens of Bitmoji you've already inundated someone with.
Snapchat is apparently buying Bitmoji, so I'm not sure what'll happen to the web service or app. I'm having fun now, though, and so are the people I'm Bitmoji-ing with. (Yeah, I verbed it!) And that's what's important.
So, all that's left is the question I started with — "Do you even Bitmoji?!" If you do, let me know. Or better yet, drop in a pic or a link to it so we can all enjoy your Bitmoji self.