I put this dancing grandma video on my Instagram account and I received a comment from an individual asking me how I did it?
The quick one-sentence explanation was inadequate. I told her I created a Bitmoji and connected it to Snapchat, but realized the explanation might not have been good enough. The problem is, Instagram is not the place to give long drawn out explanations. So, I decided to get verbose here. This way, in the future, if someone asks, I’ll just send them to this post. Now Let’s get down to business and start with first things first.
What is Snapchat?
This section will be quick. Just about every young person on the face of the planet knows what Snapchat is. So much so that my 2-year-old grandson sticks his tongue out when he sees his face on the cell phone camera display expecting a large puppy tongue to lick the cell phone screen.
A quick google image search for Snapchat dog tongue yielded the results below.
For us older folks, here’s a quick, down dirty explanation of the app and what it does. Snapchat is an app originally used for short quick chats (thus the appropriate name Snapchat). The chat could consist of text, photo or short video.
I began using Snapchat when my daughter moved overseas. She introduced me to the app as a quick, easy and inexpensive way for us to communicate daily. We were able to send short video chats back and forth to keep us up-to-date with what was going on in our lives. One of the beauties of using Snapchat was it worked well even if we had crappy Internet connections.
Since those early days Snapchat has expanded its functionality and now you can do all kinds of things with it. For the purposes of this blog post, I’m only going to address the option of creating animations. For a more detailed explanation of what you can do with Snapchat, check out Getting to Know the Ghost: The Complete Beginners Guide to Snapchat. Keep in mind the post was written some time ago, but it does give a nice overview. Snapchat is constantly evolving so what is written there might have changed already.
To really get to know Snapchat, you have to use it. To do so, download the app (compatible with Android and iPhone), set up an account and start snapping.
What is a Bitmoji?
This Bitmoji explanation is for the old-timers like me. Young folks already know this stuff.
A Bitmoji is an avatar of yourself. Yes, with the Bitmoji app you can create your own personalized avatar. Not only can you create your own personalized avatar, but your avatar has at its disposal a host of cartoon responses to everyday life’s situations. For example, let’s say you’re having a less than perfect day and you want to share that feeling with the world. Your avatar might look something like this:
Or, if, on the other hand, if you’re having a great day, it might look like this:
How Do I Create a Bitmoji?
Creating a Bitmoji is simple. Just download the Bitmoji app (on Android or iPhone), create an account to begin creating your avatar. You have the option of creating the avatar in the Bitmoji app or the Snapchat app. It all depends on which one you prefer to do first.
When creating your likeness, you can choose one of the two types of Bitmoji avatars. There’s the doe-eyed Bitmoji avatar with exaggerated large eyes, and then there’s the more human-like Bitstrips avatar with natural looking eyes. I choose the regular-looking representation of me. At this point in life, I’m too mature (aka old) to be doe-eyed.
It’s amazing the life-like details you can create with your Bitmoji. However, I do have a bone to pick with the Bitmoji app. My avatar isn’t really a true representation of me as the hairstyle is incorrect. Unfortunately, Bitmoji doesn’t include dreadlocks in its library of hairstyles (nor braids for that matter). If my Bitmoji had short dreadlocks, it would be a better representation of me, but folks who know me and have seen my Bitmoji do recognize it as being my avatar.
Once you create the basics you can switch things up if you wish. For the holidays you can put on an ugly sweater, or decide to spice things up with a bow in your hair. It’s all up to you.
What to do with a Bitmoji (outside of Snapchat)
You can pretty much use your Bitmoji anywhere, at least anywhere electronically. If you’re like me and use a computer more than a mobile device, download the Bitmoji extension for Chrome ( It doesn’t appear that extensions are available for other browsers). With the extension installed, I can copy and paste my Bitmoji into emails, documents or blog posts very easily.
That’s a basic overview of Bitmoji. Now let’s talk about the second half of the process, connecting to Snapchat.
Connecting Your Bitmoji to Snapchat
As mentioned earlier, you can either create your avatar through the Snapchat app or the Bitmoji app. In my case, since I already had Snapchat so I (or should I say my daughter) created the Bitmoji through Snapchat. Because I didn’t actually go through the linking process, I won’t attempt to explain how to do it. Instead, check out the how to add a Bitmoji to Snapchat article.
For those who learn better visually, here’s a 2:20-minute video explaining how to create a Bitmoji using Snapchat.
Now the Bitmoji Animation Fun Begins
Once your Bitmoji is connected to Snapchat go to the main page (the one where you snap photos). Make sure the camera is rear facing and long tap somewhere on the screen. Doing so will display several small circles on the lower right-hand corner of the screen. Those circles are the animation options. Scroll from right to left to see the various characters Snapchat provides for animations. Some animation options change daily, while others hang around for awhile.
To record the animation, press and hold the center record button. Initially, Snapchat only allowed 10-second videos, but no more. Now you can record much longer videos. When you’re finished recording you can either send it to one of your contacts, use the Story feature and share it as a Snapchat story or save it (as I did with the dancing Grandma at the top of this post).
There are so many other things you can do with Snapchat, but you’ll have to discover them on your own. My purpose here was to explain how I created the dancing grandma video. Hope this helps.
Grandma Needs a Little Help
Now I’ve got a question for a true techno geek out there. Why is it my Instagram bio link only works on Windows computers and Android device?. It displays a 403 Forbidden error when accessing it via my iPhone. If someone could help this Low Tech Grandma out, she would be grateful!