By Jay York
Important Note: Twitter gifs technically aren’t actually gifs. When you upload your gif, Twitter converts it to MP4. This makes the gif playable via a standard play button. There are many reasons for this. A gif can be up to five times the size of an MP4 and can’t capitalize on the compression abilities of the MP4 format. Twitter also wants your gifs to require a start, instead of them continuously playing. We’ll see how this works out. Now on to the fun stuff…
While Twitter has done well for itself sticking to images, text, links, etc., the introduction of gifs will lead to a richer and more diverse environment. Gifs bring a lot to the table, communicating ideas in a visual way. They can represent emotions, express an opinion, end a conversation, make you laugh, make you cry and even make you “squeee”.
Take it from Tumblr, a microblogging site that up until recently held a competitive advantage over Twitter just because it hosted gifs. Tumblr has held onto this niche for quite some time and surely Twitter took notice. Google+ also hosts gifs. What both of these platforms have in common, besides the gifs, is what gifs have done for their culture.
There’s practically a cult following on Tumblr and Google+, with much of the content being produced by a core group of engagers. A lot of that content eventually makes its way to – you guessed it! – Twitter and Facebook. Now, however, gifs will migrate only to Twitter, since Facebook doesn’t host them. That will give Twitter a competitive advantage over its biggest rival.
This new functionality not only helps make Twitter a better place to be, but…
Believe it or not, gifs are loved, nay, worshipped by many. They’ve become a favorite way to communicate and to express oneself. With their introduction to the Twitterverse, we can expect an increase in Twitter users, which the platform surely had in mind; people have been begging for gifs on Twitter for some time now.
For you, or brands and businesses, that means more potential followers. Sweet.
Let’s be honest – one of the most hilarious spectacles on Twitter is the daily “twitter beef”. The winners of these arguments, which are sometimes over the most inane disagreements, are decided by spectators, as well as the number of favorites and retweets. No one is safe – typical users, celebrities, and the like all take part in this hugely entertaining tradition. Now, with the additional option of responding with a gif, these matches of wit (or stupidity) will take on a visual perspective.
Being able to say so much with so little effort will undoubtedly alter the culture of Twitter, but, more hilariously, the shouting matches can and will continue through the foreseeable future of Twitter. For us spectators, this means a much more interesting display of sarcasm and angst. Get your popcorn ready, Tweeters. It’s about to get reaaal.
4. Better (and More) Gifs
With gifs becoming more prolific, we can assume more and more people will want to try their hand at making their own. While this will surely lead to some “meh” gifs, it will also lead to a lot of awesome gifs – and more altogether. Gifs aren’t that hard to make – just Google it – and as more people figure that out, you can bet Twitter will be chock full of them.
It will be interesting to see how the introduction of gifs changes the overall culture of Twitter. Good or bad, I am definitely excited to see what’s in store for us. Now we want to hear from you: What do you think about #GifsOnTwitter?
Jay York is a social media strategist at EMSI Public Relations and a panelist at the Aug. 8, 2014 Tampa Bay Marketing Summit. An internet marketing expert with extensive experience in social media marketing dating back to the early days of MySpace and LiveJournal, Jay is a graduate of the University of South Florida Business School. He specializes in social media strategies emphasizing content marketing for brands, from start-ups to established corporations. He practices an organic approach to online marketing. Follow Jay York on LinkedIn and EMSI Public Relations on Twitter.