Are GIF Apps Going to Happen?

GIFs were a thing of the past, but now they want back in through social networking. 

To begin, I would like to settle a debate that has been bugging me for a while. The prounication of GIF. I have heard it pronounced with a hard g like “gift” and I have also heard it said with a soft g as like “jiffy”. GIF is actually an acroynm for Graphic Image File therefore making it a graphic. So stop making it sound like you’re looking at peanut butter online.

tumblr_mhsgtp2w5u1s5p4ndo1_500

Anyway, I love GIFs. I love finding funny ones from TV shows, movies, music videos, and of cats doing silly things. They are simple mini video clips, usually a second or two long on loop that never ends. The best part is that Apple now allows GIFs to be sent over texting which has greatly enhanced my conversations with friends.

I took a photography class a few years ago and learned how to actually turn my pictures and videos into GIFs by using Photoshop. I sat down with the teacher that taught me how to do that recently.

“Oh I don’t teach that anymore, they’re awful” say Professor Brain Lawler of the Graphic Communications Program at Cal Poly.

yuck

“They have two benefits. One that that are small in file size and two they support animation.” GIF file types were the first of their kind to support transparency and motion, which was it’s immediate appeal. But with the invention of PNG files that support transparency and new types of video files, GIFs were pointless. According to Professor Lawler, GIFs peaked in the 90s and but he is curious to see how their return is going.

The GIF comeback would not have happened if wasn’t for social networks like Reddit and Tumblr. These sites are based on a platform that focuses on images. You can sit there for hours just scrolling without stopping. It’s really simple to get lost in these sites. GIF uses spand anywhere from reactions to other photos to images that bring us together. A perfect example of GIF success on the internet is the Tumblr How Do I Put This Gently. The titles of their posts are common situations and the reaction is a GIF that could be from just about anything. It’s hard to NOT relate to their posts.

h8

With the success and the fun had on these sites with GIFs and the winner of Time’s Oxford Dictionary Word of the Year in 2012,  app creators saw it as an opportunity to market GIF in a new way.

Most people with cellphones can capture video, so why not make your videos into GIFs and share them in new mobile social networks. Top GIF apps include Gifboom, Cinemagram, and Gifture. I do have a Cinemagram account. I am not very popular, don’t have a lot of friends, and the only likes are from my 3 friends on it. But I am trying. I have only turned a few of my concert videos into GIFs.

Sexyback GIF taken by Me at the Hollywood Palladium at the Grammy After Party Concert

Sexyback GIF taken by Me at the Hollywood Palladium at the Grammy After Party Concert

Everbody Talks GIF taken by me at the Jimmy Kimmel Show

Everbody Talks GIF taken by me at the Jimmy Kimmel Show

Born This Way GIF taken by me at the Staples Center for the Born This Way Ball

Born This Way GIF taken by me at the Staples Center for the Born This Way Ball

I was attracted to its similarities to Instagram and the nifty effects you can do to your work. There are times in my daily life when I think “Wow I wish I had a GIF of that facial gesture that I could keep in my pocket forever.” With these new GIF creating programs, that can be a possibility. But from my personal experience and from the information gathered from friends, it’s having a rough start.

“I do think it will eventually catch on. Not many people know about the app, but once the word spreads then people will notice it is basically Instagram taken to a new level,” says Kayla Koczian, a member of Cinemagram. “I like that it has filters. Filters make the world go round.” JJ Jenkins says he joined Cinemagram because he “wanted an app that makes making GIFs easy and  likes the promoted posts for the most part.” “I found a really funny one of a dog that’s amazing.”
puppy
I think the hardest part about GIF social networking is that we always forget to capture something on video. Taking a picture is so much faster, easier, and doesn’t require a lot of thought. Video takes up much more space on your phone and it obviously takes more time to capture. We are not in the mindset yet to remember to capture our daily lives through video. We are still stuck in a highly photographical way of displaying our lives on social networking.
time for dat

So will GIF social networking become as big as Facebook or Instagram? Right now as much as I wish it would, no. I think GIFs know their place on the internet and let’s face it, none of our homemade videos will be as good as the ones created on the web. They are hilarious tools used to reminisce about clips on a loop. I don’t think a social network will catch on because if the video is funny it will be sent to YouTube, the clip will be shortened, and then the GIF will end up somewhere on Tumblr. That’s how it works today and I think that’s the way it’s going to stay for a while.

no

So there’s my thoughts on the GIF Social Networking If you want to join the people that are trying to make GIF apps happen and see some of my own person GIFs follow me on Cinemagram @lindseyonline . Have a lovely day.

kiss

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Wait… I love the New MySpace

It seemed like Justin Timberlake took his role in The Social Network a little too seriously, but I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt.

We learned, back in fall of 2011, that Justin Timberlake bought a third of MySpace.com. I will be first to admit, I wasn’t sold on the idea of having another social networking site to keep up on. After trying the New MySpace, I will retract my previous thoughts and explain to you why MySpace is cool again.

Cruising around the MySpace site, I came to the conclusion that the developers decided to take the top features from the most popular social networking sites and utilize them to make one massive site.

  • Spotify’s playlist sharing feature: On Spotify you can share your custom made playlists for others to listen to. With your MySpace profile you are able to create your own Mixes to listen to as you browse the site or to share with your connections. You can give your Mix a photo collection, a title, and a description of what the playlist is about.
  • Pandora radio streaming and artist bio: Pandora usually is a tab we have open while going on the internet. We chose an artist and Pandora has a radio ready to play. On MySpace you go to specific artists and listen to their similar artist radio or listen to all of their songs they choose to post. You can listen freely without commercials and read their personal bios on their music page.
  • Twitter trending topics and followers: When you create your account you can add certain things that describe yourself. For example, I checked that I was a writer and a fan. So in my trending part of my feed I can discover popular articles about music today. MySpace allows you to “connect” to anything. What you connect to is what shows up in your feed. Just like on Twitter, the people you follows tweets show on your feed.
  • Facebook photo and personal information sharing: Just like any personal page, you can upload your own photos and post text. You can share specific songs to friends through the messaging feature. You can comment on artist’s and friend’s pictures, songs, and updates.
  • Youtube video streaming : On each artist’s page, there is a section for videos. Easily scroll through all the music videos of each artists and stream them at your leisure.
  • Old MySpace “Top 8” and profile song: “The most nostalgic thing about it was the different music people had on their page,” says UCSB student, Cecilia Mendez about Old MySpace. On your new profile you will be able to add a quote, show your location, a personal website, a song, and your “Top 8”. One of the features that caused the most drama between friends, but also was an honor to be a part of, was the “Top 8” friends on each page. New MySpace brought back that feature but this time you can add in your favorite musical acts.

Screen shot of my personal MySpace Profile

Screen shot of my personal MySpace Profile

Still want more info, check out some tours on how to use MySpace to the fullest. Don’t feel intimidated by the intricate design or the fact that you scroll sideways instead of up and down.

This site’s goal is not based around connecting friends with friends. MySpace is aware that there is Facebook and Twitter for that. You can easily maintain this site without feeling obligated to share about yourself or talk to your friends on MySpace. “‘I don’t want Myspace to be who I was last night through a bunch of drunken pictures in a drunken stupor, and I don’t want it to be who I am right now on what I’m typing on the Internet,’ Timberlake said about his vision for his personal pages, clearly alluding to Myspace’s biggest competition, Facebook” in this MTV article.

Although, while I was browsing MySpace, I got a little emotional. Since I signed in using my old MySpace account, my old profile picture came along with it. It reminded me of the beginning popularity of social networking. “I liked that you could personalize your page and decorate it,” says Cal Poly student Dani Newton. Remember when we used to search for profile themes, usually a glitter based one, that we had to code into our settings. Those were the days. I think what I will miss the most about old MySpace is the one person who friended you first, Tom. If you miss Tom as much as I do, feel free to check out his Twitter and see what is up with our first friend on the web.

Tom Anderson's profile picture on public Twitter page.

Tom Anderson’s profile picture on his public and verified Twitter page.