Picture Perfect

Published June 1, 2020

Emoji. Animoji. Memoji. Bitmoji. These are similar-sounding words that I hear tossed around a lot. All are images that can be incorporated in various messaging applications, but I’ve never been quite sure of the difference between all of them. So I decided to do a little research to figure out exactly what it all means.

In its simplest definition, an emoji is a picture.  It often represents an emotion. The most common example might be the yellow face with a smile, or yellow frowning face. These are simple images that are available on most devices without any additional downloading needed.

An Animoji is an Apple product. Animojis are three dimensional, animated emojis. They are often animal-like images that can be customized to mimic your own human facial expressions. Through a special iPhone camera, your muscle movements and facial expressions are recorded and can be transposed to the image, making the image talk, blink and smile like you.

Memoji are Animoji that are more human in nature. Memojis are headshots only but can be personalized to reflect your hair style and color; your chin shape; the color of your eyes and more. By their nature they are for Apple devices.

Bitmoji characters are designed via the Bitmoji app. Bitmojis show the entire body, allowing for even more flexibility and creativity all the way down to makeup and clothing. Bitmojis also offer sticker messages. You can attach pre-designed ‘sticker’ messages like “Good Luck” or “Ugh!” to your Bitmoji and it’s ready for posting.

Facebook recently released their own version of these cartoon-like characters. Like the Bitmoji, the Facebook Avatar displays the entire body, allowing you not only to choose hair and facial features, but body style and clothing. It can also include various sticker messages.

All of these various characters are considered ‘avatars’— images that represent the online user.

No matter the intended use, these cartoon-like images are elaborate forms of self-expression. If a picture is worth 1,000 words, then these various pictures have a lot to say about how users view themselves in cartoon form.