I was perusing through Mashable today and noticed several headlines with the word “GIF” in them. Now, every PR agency needs to keep track of the latest buzzwords. Maybe the definition of a GIF is common knowledge, but the Internet is a tricky beast with all of its new developments – nothing is really as it seems. While a GIF looks like a picture, I found myself wondering if there was something special about it that qualifies it as a GIF… does it have to be funny? Informative? Does it have to involve motion? Is it just another meme?
I found myself ultimately asking myself: “Joanna, what exactly is a GIF?” So, after some poking around, I would like to now share the fruits of my research for all of those who, like me, lack acronym savvy.
GIF stands for Graphics Interchange Format, or in human terms – a picture. According to dictionary.com, it’s a type of standard compressed file format. This is actually similar to a JPEG that many people are familiar with for high-resolution photos, but a GIF is more easily transferred across slow connections. Perhaps that’s the reason why GIFs have become so popular in online journalism – its ability to transfer across slow connections.
The other reason, of course, is that GIFs are making a comeback when it comes to easily animating pictures. There are countless GIFs that are like little bite-size movies – informational, fun, exciting, etc. Here are two examples:
Now that you know what a GIF is, feel free to start saying things like, “hey, I saw this awesome GIF online today” or “I can’t believe you don’t know what a GIF is.” You’re welcome.
In The Evolution of PR, Content Marketing and Blogging, we cover:
- The ongoing changes in the world of PR
- The principles of content marketing for tech companies
- Important blogging strategies
- How to use press releases for more than just brand-building