What’s with the gifs anyway?

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I’ve been using them more than usual lately and it got me thinking. What is about those tiny soundless videos that makes them so appealing? Is it because of the (oft humorous) random factor? Is it that movement conveys sometimes emotion better than text or even an emoticon? Is it that the excuse “Sorry, wrong gif” is more believable than “Sorry, I just typed an entire paragraph of an explanation but you took it the wrong way and now I need to retract?” Or maybe it is that it is a relatively subtle of sharing your fandoms with the uninitiated… As a certain someone so eloquently put it:

we have a gif for that

Whatever that happens to be…

I don’t know, it could be a phase. I remember back when Yahoo! first introduced e-mail backgrounds and I was going nuts over it. Or maybe it’s like quoting movies/books/shows/songs with a straight face and waiting to see who gets it first. You kind of start doing it one day and then you can’t stop. For me it’s part of the appeal of online media. You don’t need to be restricted to one form communication. It used to be that the verbal/textual dichotomy reigned supreme but these days, even a basic platform like Facebook Messenger offers the options of text, emoticons, gifs, images, video and even recorded voice messages (which I deplore but anyway). As someone who can be very chatty when typing and who uses a lot of gesturing and facial expressions in tete-a-tetes the option to show my expression rather than have to figure out the equivalent verbal expression. Especially when I’m a rapid-fire conversations. You know the ones!

Side note: YouTube is on shuffle and the Mary Poppins soundtrack just came on. Excuse me while I go wallow in nostalgia….

What was I talking about again? Oh, yes! Gifs! So, am I the only one doing this thing? You know, kind of doing something without thinking about it, then pausing, realising what I’m doing and having a mini existential crisis about it? Can’t be, right? And by that I mean the only one doing this OUTSIDE of Tumblr, possibly the only self-aware internet entity that commands both my deep fear and eternal respect. I steer clear from there for now. I do have the occasional deadline to keep up with!

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