Ann Friedman



What journalists need to know about animated GIFs — really

We are in the midst of an animated GIF renaissance. What was once a relic of the Web 1.0 era, with MySpace connotations and an 8-bit Nintendo sensibility, can now be considered a timely medium.

More compelling than a static photo and more immediate than Web video, the animated GIF (correctly pronounced with a soft g) is a uniquely digital mode of conveying ideas and emotion. Like the Twitter hashtag, which has transitioned from a functional way of sorting content to its own part of speech, the animated GIF has gone from a simple file type to its own mode of expression. GIFs have grown up, and they are everywhere right now.

There are news GIFs (Gif Hound), fashion GIFs (Reed and Rader), arty GIFs (If We Don’t, Remember Me) and pornographic GIFs (you’ll have to Google those yourself). Read more