The world of social media is always evolving and this week has been no exception. One thing in particular that caught my eye was Twitter announcing that we can now send and receive animated GIFs. I admit, it wasn’t until recently that I even knew what a GIF was, let alone that it stood for Graphic Interchange Format. You will find the technical definition here but most of us know animated GIFs as “short animated graphics that can really punch-up sharable content” often by adding humor and visual interest. Tweeters are already excited about the news!
GIF vs. JIF Before I go any further, let’s get the pronunciation straight! I have always pronounced GIF with a “hard G”, however, according to Steve Wilhite, the inventor of the GIF, it is pronounced with a “soft G”. I do question his decision since “graphic” is pronounced with a “hard G”, right? Right! But that doesn’t matter. It is pronounced with a “SOFT G” – period, the end! How have you been pronouncing GIF? I am quite certain I will continue to mispronounce it – I just can’t wrap my head around the “soft G”.
It’s been around for how long? CompuServe introduced the GIF in 1987! Yes, that is correct, 1987 and animated GIFs followed two years later. Twitter announcing that they have now incorporated animated GIFs into their code on June 18, 2014 feels the same as me announcing, “Hey everyone, did you know you can rent betamax movies at Blockbuster?”.
So, what is all the fuss about? What’s that saying…everything old is new again? Marketers of today will jump on this opportunity to find new and exciting ways to use animated GIFs to market their brands through tweets. An article I read by Socialbro lists the following “8 Marketing Uses For GIFs on Twitter”:
- Stand Out
- Tell a Story
- Show your Advert
- Showing Off
- Demonstrating your Product
- Go Viral
- Add Personality To Your Customer Service
- Share Pretty Things
This opens up some exciting new opportunities for businesses and marketers and I would like to know if you’ve already seen some of the examples above being used on Twitter, after all, it’s been almost a week now, which is close to “old news” in social! 🙂