GIFs in Social Media Chat: Good, Great or Gotta Go?
Are GIFs, or Graphics Interchange Formats, in Social Media, good, great, or do they have to go?
Many social apps out there will let you integrate pop culture references seamlessly through GIFs. Tinder and Facebook messenger do have GIFs, which begs the question: What purpose do GIFs have in everyday conversation? and can they become a mainstay like emojis? Marketers love them. They are a quick multi-modal package that commands attention.
Two notable social entities do not have GIFs. These are: Instagram, which is more streaming focused, and Snapchat, which allows users to get their pop culture in through geo filters, stickers and bitmojis. Some people (like the author) swear by GIF introductions on Tinder. For example, a looped clip of a walrus waving hello, is a hell of a lot friendlier than any virtual pick up line. One Snapchat user, Anthony LaParry, @nofreenapkins24 wrote: “Snapchat shouldn’t have gifs, that’d be too much.”
GIFs bring up some of the same criticisms that emojis do. Do they negatively impact our ability to emote or communicate ideas? No.
GIFs make pop culture a language. Every memorable bit is a new word. Users can ready the Samuel L. Jackson “Say what again” GIF for when they are talking about obscure music tastes with people. GIFs can also bring an explosion of empathy, or they could be that person who accidentally hits the wrong GIF in the groupchat conversation and makes things awkward.