My inbox is currently full of ‘Ultimate Gift Guides’ for just about every living object known to man; gifts for him, gifts for her, gifts for grannies, gifts for kids. Dogs, budgies and inanimate objects are now all catered for at this time of year. New offers ping in on a daily basis with alarming velocity, reminding me of my complete inadequacy as an ‘Organised Christmas Shopper’. No I haven’t started yet. And no, I don’t have a list. I don’t want to dwell on that….
…so in order to avoid the impending doom of my ‘last-minute-shopping’ future (when you spend waaaaay to much on gifts that no-one actually wants because you didn’t give yourself enough time to source anything half decent), I decided to lighten my spirits by creating the Ultimate GIF Guide (helpful blogger or procrastination at its finest?!).
Er, so – can I put a GIF in a Christmas stocking?
No! A GIF is not a gift in the physical sense of the world – it just sounds like one, minus the ‘t’. But as an avid social media user, a GIF does feel like a bit of a treat. You see, GIF is the acronym for Graphics Interchange Format, which is a very boring name for something that’s pretty cool. It refers to a file format that supports both static and animated images. They are essentially quick videos that loop and don’t require a play button.
When is a GIF not a GIF?
GIFs are soundless, play in a loop and are typically just a few seconds long. Videos, by comparison are usually longer with sound or music.
What do I use a GIF for?
As well as spreading a little light-hearted cheer, GIFs can be used quite cleverly across your social media platforms. Like emojis, some GIFs allow you to be a bit more playful with your tone of voice. They can also help your posts stand out amongst the tirade of tweets and pictures that appear on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. GIFs can have a serious use, too – for instance, they are a great way of showcasing products, animating data and creating ‘how-to’ guides and tutorials. I particularly like to use them to convey a message which requires more than 140 characters as a GIF will not take up any character space on Twitter – hoorah!
We love the tutorial GIFs
over on astutegraphics.com
Sold! Now, where can I find them?
I love Giphy. It’s full-to-brimming with gorgeous GIFs to suit all needs and occasions! You will also find GIFs at Tumblr and Google Image Search (just go Google, select ‘Images’ and at the bottom of the page you’ll see ‘Advanced Settings’. Click, then click on the ‘Type’ option and select ‘Animated’).
If you’ve got a bit more time and you’re feeling creative, have a go at making your own using these tools:
Happy GIF-fing!! (don’t ever say that out loud…).