Sending Bitmojis to Co-Workers—What Could Possibly Go wrong? Creating a bitmoji — or a personalized cartoon that looks like you — can be a lot of fun. And some employers are using their bitmojis to interact creatively with customers and employees. But bitmojis can be easily misinterpreted. What to you might seem like a fun interaction may be taken wrong.
Corey Blake was texting with several of his branding firm’s employees when he decided to wish them a good night’s sleep ahead of a leadership retreat the next day in Cleveland.
Rather than peck out a final message, the 42-year-old chief executive sent a cartoon image of himself lifting sheets on a bed with a teddy bear in it.
“Sleep Well,” the drawing’s caption bade.
“Creepy boss is going to sit on your bedside and tuck you in at night…” a staffer gleefully fired back.
“Oh my gosh,” a Texas-based colleague chimed in. “Maybe I’ll stay in Dallas.”
Mr. Blake blamed the faux pas on his affinity for digital cartoons called bitmojis.
For the uninitiated: Bitmojis are personalized cartoon images that can be pasted into text messages and emails. Using an app from Bitstrips Inc., people craft avatars of themselves—hairstyles, body types, clothing—that the app plops into quirky scenes.
After winning over teens and young adults on mobile devices, bitmojis are seeping into corporate emails, messaging apps and texts. Now, eager and befuddled workers are figuring out how to use the social tool without breaching professional courtesy.
“I embarrassed myself,” said Mr. Blake, founder of Round Table Companies in Highland Park, Ill. He tried to save face minutes later by sending a second bitmoji of his avatar in pajamas.
“Nighty Night,” the caption read. His employees panned that one, too.
Pictures are only part of the challenge. Many bitmojis pair with whimsical captions that lean on slang and internet memes, confusing those not in the know. A simple email seeking verification from a colleague could be sent as a cryptic cartoon inquiring “Amirite?”
Whether to respond is unclear. Getting it wrong, though, could mean being on the receiving end of a dismissive “SMH” bitmoji. (Translation: “shaking my head.”)
Bitmojis often nod to youthful fads such as dabbing, a dance move that resembles someone sneezing into his or her elbow. Others include years-old references to TV shows or movies whose origins can be lost on those less attuned to pop culture.
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