GIFs have truly GIFted this world from the 20th century to today. Since 1987, they have become easier to make with more complex ideologies to understand and higher image quality. When thinking of a GIF, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Maybe it’s humor or sass? But did politics and education come to mind, as well?
Though they are not universal, GIFs are excellent ways to spread information, whether that information be for advertisements or communication. There have been times when I did not know the reference a GIF was making and searched for the context of the meme to better understand it. Though all that work may take away from the humor of the GIF, it allows the GIF to gain more meaning. Of course, for those in certain countries that limit their access to technology, GIFs may not play as an important role in their communication as for those in the U.S., which is important to realize. Different places have different boundaries, so a GIF that is socially acceptable in one country, may be banned in another.
GIFs are intersectional, however, since they span from the political spectrum all the way to the artistic one. They are short and to the point, yet their repetition and sporadic nature allow them to be relatively memorable and their popularity allows for messages to be spread quite quickly. In the scheme of politics, a New York Times article claimed that GIFs helped to humanize and make candidates appear more likeable during the 2016 elections. The moving aspect of the GIF adds character that a single emoji may be lacking. When words aren’t enough, a GIF can complete your feelings when you are unable to physically and/or verbally convey them yourself.
Just some food for thought,