We almost hesitate to bring this to your attention. Why? Because our intrepid app testers at Chez Formicidae locked themselves in a windowless room with this thing and we haven’t seen them since lunch — three days ago.
It’s called Eric the Circle. The promotional material from Step Change Marketing calls its client’s creation “the next generation of tweeting.” And maybe, someday, it will be. For now, we can say with confidence that Eric the Circle can be a colossal devourer of time. And we say that with a smile.
Visitors to the Eric site, or to its iPhone app, called Eric iDraw, are invited to use simple drawing tools to create a cartoon that spotlights Eric — a roughly drawn circle with vast potential. Creators are asked to keep Eric’s Principles in mind — avoid giving Eric facial features, use Mr. Circle’s full name unless a pun requires some shortening, keep it simple and keep it clean.
(Example: One cartoon shows a long, horizontal line with the caption: “Eric the Circle planking.”)
Why the principles? Ah. There’s the genius. The NSW-based developers have publishing rights to the cartoons. Selected Eric art may pop up, Cafe Press-like, on T-shirts and mugs. Or it might appear in publications such as mX. The original creator gets a 50% cut of the action whenever a drawing or product is sold.
People also can vote on the drawings (like/dislike) and share them on Twitter and Facebook. The idea is to express an thought or start a meme with simple, quickly drawn pictures. Plus words.
Anyone with a weakness for doodling or sight gags can become lost in this app quickly. And if the cartoon-making feature isn’t tempting enough, there’s also an Eric the Circle maze game that can suck you in for hours — if that’s your kind of thing.
So drive Eric the Circle around the block. Let us know what you think. And if you see our app testers, tell ’em their Four’N’Twenty pies are getting moldy.