Haven’t all the moving pictures in Harry Potter always fascinated us? Some might say videos serve the same purpose and more but there is nothing closer to those images than GIFs or Graphics Interchange Format.
They have taken over our social media feeds by storm. Lovers of memes swear by them, the artsy and designer brigade loves the beautiful pieces that some curate with GIFs, the anime fanatic loves to share their favourite scene on loop and the every animal and baby pacifier loves to show their love for the creatures by sharing GIFs. But what are GIFs and why are they suddenly so relevant in our lives today?
First created in the late 1980s, GIFs have been around for decades but only recently have they become the measure of social media consumption. Their popularity stems from the fact that they support simple animation that can be done with changing from one frame to another.
This basic USP makes them stand out on our otherwise static newsfeeds. After a lot of criticism and constant urging, Facebook finally allowed for animated GIFs to be posted and shared to our walls, however, the same is highly anticipated for the comments section. Imagine being able to respond back with our favourite characters doing what they do best. (Imagine Ross waving his elbows for you when you want to be sassy to someone else.)
Huge companies like Samsung have also used GIFs to showcase their products. Especially considering the fact that GIFs are slowly but gradually taking over, it is a must for the marketing teams to follow suit.
Pinterest, Twitter, Google+ and recently Facebook, all support GIFs, with some limitation to usage. Our favourite photo sharing site, Instagram, unfortunately, does not support GIFs. Although, one can upload a .mp4 file which will play on a loop like a GIF. Even Tinder supports GIFs in the chat section. Once you have matched with someone, you can send them some cool GIFs as a conversation starter.
We know how popular GIFs are and we know how wonderfully designers, artists, comedians and corporations are using them along with the master meme creators. But where do they come from? Almost everyone would have heard or read of Giphy as a source, but apart from that, one can find millions of GIFs, sometimes even sorted according to keywords and hashtags.
If what you find online is not enough, you can even create your own GIFs to suit your needs. Finding the perfect GIF to go with our needs can be quite a task, but along with Giphy, there are many online platforms and apps where we can create our own GIFs very easily.
If all the convenience and simple eye-catchiness of the good old GIF is not enough for you, here is a list of pointers as to why is using GIF an awesome idea to increase social media engagement.
GIFs also benefit businesses up their online presence. Many social media managers are today, turning to use GIFs as a tool to get more traffic onto their web pages. They constantly either repost or create original content that resonates with their organisation, bringing in more visitors to their pages. Subconsciously we are liking them and promoting them; the names of the organisations thus, stay with us in our memory.
Apart from this, art and design as fields have majorly started using GIFs. If you follow creative forums like Berlin Artparasites or Creative Bloq you must have come across some beautiful pieces of art that would have left you mesmerised or in awe of the sheer genius behind them. Art and design related GIFs are something we should Google once in a while and play on the loop. They transport you to a different dimension altogether.
GIFs thus, are an extremely important and powerful tool in today’s virtual world to not only attract and interact with our audiences but also to be able to create an aura and remain in public memory for any individual or organisation. If used wisely, they can not only make one the Pop Culture Queen/King, but also be declared the Ruler of the land of Humour or just one with a very fine taste in the best of art and design pieces. GIFs have genres within themselves and we use them likewise without actually realising it. But to be able to tap into this and utilise it for our own benefit is the most sneaky yet fun way to get the maximum amount of social media engagement possible in today’s time and world.