Bitstrips was released in the Apple app store in October as a test run for family and friends. After two weeks it had become the number one app in 40 countries. In fact, Bitstrips has experienced runaway popularity, and with a recent $3 million investment, the future looks bright. However, the brightest stars burn out the fastest. Can a viral beginning be sustained?
Jacob Blackstock created Bitstrips after a lifelong love affair with comics and drawing. “It was always a really exciting thing to make a comic for someone – but especially when you put them in it, they’d be so thrilled,” Blackstock said to The Verge. This simple idea developed over six years from a website to the eventual app.
Indeed, the app conversion was a huge turning point for the service. Within a couple of minutes users could slap together a comic and push it to Facebook instantly. As more Facebook users tied their profiles to a Bitstrip avatar, more of their friends could be include in the comics.
This explosion of popularity was a double edged sword for Bitstrips. While the social comic-strip app began reaching millions more users, there was a pushback from those who weren’t interested. Many users found their feeds saturated with Bitstrips, and efforts were taken by some to block the app, its content, and any mention of the service at all.
“It was a symptom that people really loved it, and they loved it a little too much,” Blackstock said.
Butstrips offers a fun, quirky experience, but ultimately, it’s just a creativity toy. As with other apps — especially Facebook game apps — tastes change and people quickly start looking for the next new shiny toy. Still, Blackstock remains positive about the app’s trajectory.
The 18-24 demographic is the most persistent user group, and historically that age bracket is a little less fickle than teenagers. However, like Draw Something, Words with Friends and countless other social media time-passers, Bitstrips may have already had its time in the sun.
Image credit: kev_hickey_uk