Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

Geek is the New Black: GIF 101

See also: How my teens make stop motion movies using Legos and a Giffer app

Okay, technically they are not new.  They are just now mega popular.  So I asked Christie to ask That Guy (who is tech support), how do these things work?  Because like all new tech – at least new to you – there is a learning curve.  So I have been investigating and thought I would share because that is what I do.  See: Librarian, one who shares things.

First thing you need to know, it is pronounced “jif”.  Yes, like the peanut butter. I found this out the embarrassing way.  I will save you.

Second thing you need to know, it stands for Graphics Interchange Format. They are those moving picture thingies that you see around the web.

The Internet is GIFtacular

Although GIFs can be used any time and any place, Tumblr and Buzzfeed are the haven of GIFs.  They are also both sites that I am obsessed with because they make sharing easy and fun.  If you do not have a Tumblr, you should.  I like the way that Tumblr makes it easy to choose to share a quote, a website, a video or a picture.  And I love the way it handles pictures – quick, easy and stylish.

If I had to guess, I would say that the most popular GIFs tend to spring from Doctor Who, Supernatural, Sherlock, 80s movies, superhero movies, and Disney Princesses.  They are often used to convey emotion to punctuate what someone has just said.  For example, if you were talking about a book that made you cry and feel all the feels, you would add this:

crying gif photo: crying zoey crying.gif
From Photobucket

See, GIFs are fun.  You can find some at Reaction Gifs, Gif Bin and Gif Soup.  You can also find them at Photobucket, PicGifs, and Flickr.

There is info on how to use/add them to a post here.

How to Make Them

You can find a ready supply of GIFs on the Internet, but issues of copyright can be tricky.  Many believe they basically fall under the halo of “Fair Use”.  There is a good discussion about this issue here and here.  If you are worried about the Internet police coming after you, you can make your own.  There are tools and tutorials out there.  They include:

Find out more here

Make an animated GIF in Photoshop
GifBoom (app!)
Cinemagram (also an app!)
Gizmodo: How to Make a GIF in 5 Easy Steps
Free Online GIFmaker
Make a GIF
Mashable: Make Reaction GIFs with These 7 Tools
Mashable: How to Make GIFs
8 Free GIF Maker Apps

GIF are so popular there are even artists out there specializing in GIFs, and they are amazing.
YPulse: 3 Rising Artists of the Digital Age.

Which brings about a new way to get teens involved in the library: Have Them Make GIFs.  Have a contest. Ask the members on your TAB to create GIFs for you to share.  You don’t have to sit back and do all the marketing yourself, you can get teens involved.

Whatever you do – happy GIFfing!

More About GIFs
Mashable: The History of GIFs
What Journalists Need to Know About GIFs
5 Ways to Find Best Animated GIFs
YPulse: Why GIFs Become the Sweethearts of the Internet

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