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Since you’re using messaging apps all the time, it’s easy for conversations to fall into a rut. Thankfully, there are popular new apps being widely adopted that go beyond installing different keyboards on your phone and guarantee that sending and receiving messages will be anything but dull.
Sure, iOS8 introduced a greater number of emojis, and Facebook’s themed stickers collection continues to grow. However, none of these innovations can challenge the addictive new apps (including Dubsmash, Bitmoji, and Giphy) that offer exciting cross-platform alternatives to classic messaging.
Text-based conversations have become an important part of almost every aspect of modern life. From inter-office IMs to catching up with a friend you haven’t seen in years, or sending a quick text to your partner to let them know you will be bringing home milk after work, using messaging apps is likely an inevitable part of your day.
If a picture’s worth a thousand words, a lip-dubbed video has to represent an entire novel… right? At least, that’s my assumption after spending the past week being inundated on every single messaging app by countless short, 5-10 second videos of my friends using the new app Dubsmash to record themselves lip-syncing to famous quotes and their favorite songs.
Dubsmash was released in early November, and has quickly risen to popularity — it’s currently sitting at #6 on the free charts on the App store above social media mainstays like Pinterest and Snapchat. Best of all, many Hollywood stars and music artists are using Dubsmash and sharing their Dubs online.
The app really is as simple as it sounds. A basic user interface allows each dubber to select a famous soundbyte (ranging from children’s cartoons and famous movies to viral YouTube videos and rock anthems) and record a selfie video of themselves lip-syncing along. I’m the first to admit that, at first glance, this app sounds beyond ridiculous, but it’s surprising how quickly you can get sucked in to the well-organized library full of thousands of sound clips.
Of course, if you’re hoping to quote an obscure line from an obscure TV show you may not be able to find the clip you want immediately. Thankfully, the app allows you to quickly record the soundbyte from another source and add it to Dubsmash’s ever-growing collection.
Dubsmash is designed primarily for the private sharing of your dubs. From inside the app, users can easily share their clips with friends using Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp, and MMS. If you feel that your interpretation of Barney Stinson’s “Legendary” is worth sharing with the world you can also save the video to your camera roll and upload it to Instagram or Facebook or send it through your preferred alternative messaging app.
At its core, this app is just plain fun! Challenge your friends to a best-of duel with music from your favourite band, respond to a friend’s stressed-out text with an inspirational speech from your favourite sports video, or send them an operatic solo from a hit musical to startle them awake first thing in the morning.
When my friends aren’t sending me videos of their actual faces, more often than not they are choosing to send personalized Bitmojis to represent their feelings about a subject. And yes, that’s Bitmoji as in the Bitstrips comics that featured look-alikes of users and were unavoidable on Facebook about two years ago.
After you first download Bitmoji it prompts you to design an avatar that looks like you by selecting different options for hair, clothing, and body shape. Once you have set your avatar, your options for useable emojis are nearly endless. From basic facial expressions to ridiculous sayings, there really is a Bitmoji sticker for any situation or emotion you may find yourself wanting to express.
You can either send Bitmoji stickers directly from the app itself (compatible with MMS messages, Facebook Messenger, Email, Twitter, and more), or enable Bitmoji as a keyboard on your phone (found under the “keyboard” options in settings) so that you can use them seamlessly in ongoing conversations. Classic emojis may be able to express a lot… but can they accurately express what you would look like as a rampaging dinosaur? Sometimes conversations call for that — and when they do, Bitmoji is the perfect app to have at the ready.
There are times when your imitation or quotation of a famous phrase or viral video is enough. There are other situations where nothing but the scene itself will do. In these scenarios, the best option is being able to send your friend a quick GIF of the scene you are thinking of — and the best option for that is by using the Giphy for Messenger app.
GIFs are an important part of the Internet‘s language, but while it is possible to send GIFs through iMessage and several messaging apps available for iOS and Android, Facebook Messenger generally does not support this feature. Giphy is a way to work around this problem, and send GIFs to friends that you are talking to through Facebook Messenger without sending them a link to a webpage or making them switch to a different app.
The website Giphy.com is the Internet’s best source for finding GIFs of any kind (including viral YouTube videos, TV shows, and obscure recordings). The Giphy app uses the existing library and its interface makes it easy to search GIFs by popularity, source, reaction, or keyword. GIFs that you have recently used are stored separately so that you can easily find them again.
After finding the GIF you want to use in your Facebook conversation, press the “send” button to open the messenger app and choose the conversation you want to add the GIF to. If you only want to use the app to find GIFs before using them somewhere else, GIFs are easily downloaded directly to your device with the tap of the “download” button in the top right corner.
Dubs and Comics and GIFs — oh my!
There are a lot of free messaging apps available for both Android and iOS, but I often find that there’s nothing more frustrating than trying to wrangle your friends into using a new messaging app once they’ve settled into one that they like. For that reason, all three of the apps we feature in this article allow their creations to be sent through messaging apps you already use.
With that in mind, there really is no downside to giving these apps a try — surprise your best friend with a video of you lip-syncing to your favourite song, your younger sister with a cartoon version of your angry self to punctuate a disagreement, or cute kitten GIFs to everyone on your Facebook friends list.
Downloading these messaging apps will be worth it, and boring conversations through messaging, or awkwardly trying to describe your favourite part of a viral YouTube video with words will quickly become a part of your past!
Have you tried Dubsmash, Bitmoji, or Giphy yet? What are your favourite images, videos, or GIFs to add into conversations?