GIFs have an outstanding presence in the social media driven world of today. But did you know that it has been around for 30 years already?
Three decades after CompuServe’s Steve White founded the Graphics Interface Format, GIFs have taken strides to occupy the modern era. These video snips are helping social media users express their opinions better with captivating moving pictures.
While these snippets have grown popularity elsewhere, Facebook have taken low interest to provide native support for GIFs.
The social network giant yielded recently. It added GIF support in Facebook ads, cover photos in Pages and now in replies to individual comments.
While Facebook users have been uploading GIFs to their posts since 2015, the recent announcement marks the first time the company will support natively uploaded GIFs. Before, third-party providers hosted these snippets, which appeared as custom links.
Facebook has gradually rolled out native GIFs to select users in the past few months. The company marked the format’s 30th anniversary by providing the option to all users starting Friday, 06-16-2017.
How does it affect your social media experience? Brace yourself for short animated pictures in loops as they wiggle into your comments section.
Facebook also reported GIF usage on Messenger. It said users of the instant messaging service sent around 13 billion GIFs over the past year or 25,000 GIFs per minute. It tripled usage year-on-year.
New Year’s Day 2017 had the most GIF sends on Messenger ever with more than 400 million GIFs sent.
With a high usage rate of GIFs on Messenger, Facebook has taken long enough to offer native GIF support.
GIPHY, one of Facebook’s third-party GIF providers, has exponentially increased its users to more than 100 million daily active users. These users send more than one billion GIFs per 24 hours. It has helped the company increase its value to more than $600 million.
In defense, Facebook noted in 2015 that they wanted to avoid using GIFs to maintain a clutter-free Newsfeed.
Apart from native GIF support, Facebook has teamed up with GIPHY to promote the celebration of GIF’s 30th anniversary. It features famous web celebrities thru custom GIFs. You can search for these by using #GIFparty hashtag on Facebook and Messenger.
Facebook also started a poll to finally answer the big question: How is “GIF” pronounced? Do you pronounce it with a hard G like “gift” or a soft G like “George”.
Over the next few days, if you live in the US you might see a poll on Facebook asking you to cast your vote. You can also vote by visiting Facebook’s official Page on your mobile phone. To find the Page, search for “Facebook” in the main Facebook app.
If you’re a stickler for pronunciation, you may cast your vote. Facebook will release results later.