Why GIFs Became the Sweetheart of the Internet

 

Is it too early to crown the GIF the internet star of 2013? Though the format has been in use since the early days of websites, there has been a proliferation of GIF use among young consumers of late that has pushed the once lowly image file into the spotlight. What is it about the GIF format that has captured the hearts of hoards of Tumblr users, internet commenters, and viral bloggers?

For readers who aren’t familiar with the GIF, they are short, endlessly-looped video files that appear to play a few seconds of action on eternal replay. The New Republic wrote an extensive history of the medium and its rise from 90s junk animation to art form. Today, GIFs have become an integral part of the way internet users (often led by Gen Y) talk to one another. They appear as reactions to blog articles, are created and shared by fan communities on Tumblr and elsewhere to celebrate moments in TV and movies, are emailed as exclamations and emotional outbursts. In short, they have become the second language of the internet.

So why GIFs, and why now? Millennials, always a very image-reliant generation, have continued to gravitate towards visual communication. With the strengthening popularity of Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, Vine, and Snapchat, we could almost see them reaching a tipping point where visuals actually usurp text communication in common use. When you are a group who communicates by majority in visuals, those visuals have to evolve in order to fully capture the emotion you are trying to convey. (We saw a similar evolution in the simple emoticon, which began as a finite combination of punctuations and have become a legion of animated faces and objects stored on your phone for easy access and hieroglyphic-esque messaging.) Layer on top of this the fact that Millennials have also…

 
 
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Millennial News Feed

Quote of the Day: “I won’t buy an already-made costume to dress up in for Halloween because everyone will have those and I don't like having what everyone else has.” –Female, 27, FL

The future of the on-demand economy is shaping up, and soon anything you might need or want, from toothpaste to kittens, could be delivered to you in a snap. Grocery delivery app Instacart tapped into this “I want it now” mentality for some smart Halloween marketing: Seattle residents can use the app to order last-minute costumes that arrive in one hour. The startup conceived the campaign after receiving costume requests from many of their customers, and the service will be active until 8pm tonight. (Instacart)

Last week, we wrote that brands could learn some marketing tricks from Taylor Swift, and her social media skills continue to impress. Vulture has a break down of why Swift is the “reigning queen of celebrity social media,” where she acts like her fans’ best friend, interacts with them personally, and uses each platform the way they do. On Monday, she used Twitter to put those fans in the spotlight, reposting pictures of them posing with her new album on her own feed with the hashtag #taylurking, a reference to the fact that she was lurking on her followers’ profiles. (Vulture)

Older Millennials grew up with the internet, which means they remember its humble design beginnings, and how social media got its start—after all, they were at the center of it. The internet has come a long way in a relatively short time, but there is a growing nostalgia for Web 1.0, the good old days when “everything was smaller,” “close-knit,” and “DIY.” This nostalgia is fueling the design of some of the newest apps and networks, which emphasize intimacy, self-expression, and minimalism. (Gizmodo)

Young consumers have a different set of retail experience expectations, and while many till prefer in-store, there is no doubt that mobile and online are a very big part of their shopping behavior. So what are their digital retail tastes and habits? 55% use multiple devices to shop, and 71% of females do their online shopping at home versus the 77% of males who do it on-the-go. Their biggest frustrations include slow load times, slow checkout, lack of interactive features, and small/fuzzy images. Those images are important—55% overall, and 72% of females, say they “couldn’t live without pictures when shopping on mobile devices.” (Inc.)

Richie Rich is being rebooted for a new generation. A live-action Richie Rich show from AwesomenessTV is coming to Netflix in 2015. The story of the self-made child millionaire was first a comic book in the 1950s, then reinvented for ‘90s kids in the movie starring Macaulay Caulkin. In this modernized iteration, Richie is a trillionaire who earned his bucks inventing and selling green technology. (KidscreenMashable)

You've got questions, we've got answers. Silver and Gold subscribers have access to Ypulse's trend and Millennial experts for quick, personalized feedback on any topic. After each insights article on Ypulse.com, subscribers can submit questions and requests directly to our experts and receive instant responses. Whether they want to dig more deeply into a topic or better understand the implications for their brands, we're there to help. (Ypulse)

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