Instagram have also created Boomerang, which allows users to record a few frames that then play back and forth in a loop. They have their practical uses for marketing and advertising, but I will always believe their true use is one of less serious intentions. I find this crossover of images and video interesting, GIFs seem take the role of the bridge between the two image mediums.
Other times, animated GIFs can be arresting in their beauty: Why do you want to watch Michelle from Full House frozen in the same continuous twitch? The web was so irresistible to early adopters because it broke the floodgates of exposure — suddenly, no matter where you lived or what kind of life you led, you could see images of the wildest, most beautiful or most depraved things that the world has to offer. Sometimes the animations are spastic and bizarre, as if in deliberate offense of taste; repetitive gestures by old cartoon characters, flickering neon acidscapes that seem designed to challenge seizure thresholds, or incongruous nostalgia loops the sort that drive popular Tumblr account fuckyeahs. First introduced by Compuserve in , the GIF graphic interchange format was invented by Steve Wilhite as the perfect way to transfer images across the slow modem connections of the time. Yet people rarely gather animated images that make sense; one would not save a picture of a film screenshot or a casual tabloid shot of a celebrity unless it was of particular significance or appeal to them, and yet animated GIFs that show just a few seconds of someone making a funny face repeatedly become exponentially more appealing to someone than a picture of the same person that did not move. Collecting still images, arrested memories, is something we can understand, as human beings have done this for time unending. Given the ready availability of rich media, how is it that you can throw two hours into a hole reading a Tumblr of few-frame collages, repeating over and over? An example being after watching a YouTube video, the suggested video thumbnails now appear as GIFs flicking through key frames of the video, which is an obvious way to show the highlights of the video before committing to watching it. Serving over one billion GIFs a day! As people became accustomed to the glut of imagery, they became harder to shock, but they also became harder to fascinate and to charm. When made well, animated GIFs feel like an evolution on the still photo, like some technology evolution that keeps pictures from freezing in time as up until now we have expected them to. Instagram have also created Boomerang, which allows users to record a few frames that then play back and forth in a loop. But in the world in which we live, where no one really bothers to put the TV on anymore because there are so many shows available in full online, and accessing nearly any film at any time on a whim whether one owns it or not is the norm for most people comfortable with the internet. That might particularly explain the fact that the most popular trade in GIFs are animations from late s and early s TV programs — nostalgia for the simpler childhood of the demographic most likely to be making GIFs — and pictures of facial expressions in slow motion, as if to disempower larger media with a snapshot of its distilled absurdity, or with the exposition of its inner machinery. But how widespread is their use and why do we love them so much? Paging through animated GIF threads on message boards or Tumblrs is fun in part because of the sheer variety of surprises; whatever psychological mechanic makes people more likely to eat another chocolate when the box is full of different flavors probably keeps them hooked on wondering what the next GIF will be, too. More From Thought Catalog. Social media platforms and GIFs were always going to marry together well, but over the past few years these two internet mainstays have become closer than ever. They have their practical uses for marketing and advertising, but I will always believe their true use is one of less serious intentions. However, it seems as though none of these new applications have come close to the simplicity and effectiveness of the humble GIF. If a constant flow of rich media is unavoidable, migrating toward a sort of video-shorthand seems a similarly natural response, occupying the urge for simple stimulation and freeing up our brains to be more selective about the actual long-form programming with which we engage — a new kind of channel-surfing, if you will. I find this crossover of images and video interesting, GIFs seem take the role of the bridge between the two image mediums. In fact, our affinity for the animated GIF is weirdly logical; when information channels online became glutted with long-form writing, people began blogging, and then Tweeting, in a gradual but sensible evolution from words to characters as the norm.
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