And that’s a wrap on the gif


This week has been very informative but also has been filled with its challenges and left me feeling at certain times a little overwhelmed. Throughout this week, I have learned a lot about slack, navigated the pros and cons of an online class, the purpose of domains and developing a digital identity, and all about gifs. Before this week, I had never been exposed to slack before. Whenever I was required to do online work for a class, I usually relied heavily on google docs and Canvas to do my work. Slack was an awesome discovery for me. It reminded me sort of like an educational twitter setting. The ability to DM my classmates directly and my professor allowed for easy communication. With this being an online class, I found that Slack allowed me to connect easily with the rest of my classmates. We were able to talk all together and share our difficulties and work together to find solutions. Slack turned this module into an online community with my classmates that allowed me to extend my digital identity by working and learning through others. The opportunity to develop an online identity is one that I view as something awesome to have in this age of online hyper-communication. It’s a chance for me to control what I wish to put out for others to see. It is a way that I can access and showcase my learning that leads to finished products. Furthermore, taking an online class has been a learning experience in itself. There is something that is awesome about doing a digital studies course online. This is my first online class I have ever taken, and this first week was full of challenges. I have been on vacation since the beginning of this class and only have wifi for about 3 hours of the day. For this reason, being able to connect with my classmates on slack has been an awesome tool. Trying to figure things out online has been a learning experience and stressful, but is something that I am viewing as a positive learning experience and am excited to continue working with my classmates and learning through these modules. Being able to end this week with the final product of a Gif was something really cool for me. I learned how not only to make a gif of my own, but the history behind these pictures. I have seen gifs all over the place but I know the understanding of what makes these pictures so popular. I will definitely use my new skill of making a gif of my own in the future, and am excited to continue learning in this class. Until then…


Beginners Guide to DGST Chapter 1: Gifs

If I want to learn about all about these moving pictures, I figured a good place to start would be to figure out the logistics of these pictures.

Trying to piece together a timeline of the history of the gif is a lot more difficult than I would have imagined. There are millions of gifs out there. And with the options to easily create your own gifs the possibilities are endless to create millions of more. With so many gifs in the world, there is not a set record of the history of these tiny, moving pictures. We can estimate the history of the gif started in 1997 with Simple Net Art Diagram. The two person artist team MTAA released to the public domain for remixing, allowing the public to participate to locate and manipulate an image for themselves. Since then, the progression of Gifs can be seen today through the work of artists like Cory Archangel in Super Mario Clouds, Jacob Ciocci, Jessica Ciocci, and Ben Jones whose images consisted  of bright colors, fun designs, and image captions to add to their appeal and popularity. Now a days, Gifs have become much more intricate and reach a vastly diverse audience on multiple social media platforms.

The popularity of these tiny, moving pictures comes from their easy accessibility, entertainment value, and diverse range of uses. Gifs have flashed across all forms of social media, from Tumblr to Facebook, and even in our everyday text conversations. You’ve probably spotted them in advertisements, email signatures, social media avatars and all over web forums. Gifs reach people of all ages. They are easily obtainable and can be found effortlessly online or even using the many keyboard available to any internet user that are dedicated to gifs. Even if you don’t know how to make one, their entertainment value allows anyone of any age to easily connect with them when you receive it. Furthermore, having the ability to use a gif or create your own incorporates a personal attachment to these photos and adds to their appeal and fun.

However, no two gifs are created ‘equally’, and before you go around freely sharing or creating your own gifs you should understand the various constraints social media platforms have on the uses of them. The trouble lies in using someone’s original content to create and share a GIF. Individuals often make and share these pictures with little concern for the repercussions but depending on who you are and how you distribute them, you should be aware of copyright issues. Fair use is determined usually through the purpose and character of the use, the nature of copyrighted work, the amount of the portion used in relation to the copyright of work as a whole, and the effect of use upon the potential viewing market. But for the most part, Gifs are open to our endless entertainment access. For example, Tumblr and Twitter’s restrictions on Gifs usually only deal with size limit and megabytes. These social media platforms make it super easy to use and upload Gifs, with included Gif keyboards on their websites that allow you to freely use and save these pictures for whatever purpose you seek.

Whenever you start to learn to do something new, some people seem to take the dive-on-in and figure it out as you go approach. Well, I am no one of those people. I like to take small, easy, baby steps till I get comfortable and then push my boundaries fro there. I decided to stick to my ways when it came time for me to make my first gif. When I actually had to make my gif, I explored and researched a lot of different websites and ways that you can create one of these moving pictures. For my first time constructing a Gif, I chose to work with Giphy. I had heard a lot of my classmates were finding success with the website and after playing around with it for a bit I felt it was really easy and straightforward to use. I mainly used the Gif caption option for this post. All I had to do was find a picture that fit my mood, and caption it. It was simple as that.


I was shocked to learn how easy it was to make a GIF of my own. There are so many websites and tools out there that make it so easy to come up with and personalize gifs of your own. I started the task of learning about Gifs wondering about what makes these pictures so popular and why we as a society connect with them and find them so fascinating. From looking at the history, to actually getting the chance to make my own gif, I have a new found understanding of these pictures. They are expressive. We connect with them because of the emotions they evoke in us. No matter what age you are, you feel that sense of excitement and laughter when you receive and send one. With the easy ability to make your own gifs, the possibilities to connect and use these gifs are endless. The influence of these seemingly simple pictures is seen through its popularity and multitude of uses, and gives us a new way of communication.



Gif-ing out

A gif is worth a thousand words. There’s something about those small, tiny moving pictures that are able to perfectly capture what you are trying to say without you actually just saying it. And if there’s one thing I enjoy, it’s a good gif conversation. Gifs have become very popular across multiple social media platforms and have become a very popular form of expression. I think we all have experienced the fun of searching for the perfect gif to respond to a friend with, but also the frustration when you can’t find the exact one you are looking for.

Myself, like many  others, must admit I love using gifs. I’ve sent them to cheer up a friend who has been in a tough spot. I have received them in multiple ‘gif war’ conversations with my friends where we try to carry on a conversation with nothing but these moving pictures. I’ve even used them in a professional setting at my summer internship as a way to connect with my coworkers and costumers.

But with gifs popping up all over the place, there is something about these tiny  moving pictures that I never really understood. They bring us joy. They entertain us. There are millions of gifs out there perfectly suitable for any conversations or current situation we wish to describe. But they are also voiceless, use low picture quality, and whatever situation we use them in can more than likely easily be replaced with a simple sentence and maybe a laughing emoji to add effect.  Yet for some reason, we are connected to these seemingly meaningless moving pictures, and I think that with the popularity of gifs, and my weird curiosity and obsession with them makes them a good place to start in my Beginners Guide to DGST.

I want to explore how these moving pictures got their start. I want to learn about the connections we have to these pictures and the connections they make between the sender and recipients who use them. And I want to be able to make some connections of my own through creating gifs of me own.

So, here we go. Beginners Guide to DGST Chapter 1: Gifs


A Beginners Guide to DGST

My name is Christiana Meyers, but most people know me as Chris. I am a twenty year old Communications Major and Security and Conflict studies minor at the University of Mary Washington, where I will be a junior next semester.  At school, I spend most of my time either on a soccer field (I am a student athlete) or hanging out with my friends. When I am not doing either of those things, I am probably eating, reading, watching a movie, or Face Timing my family.

At first, I was a little hesitant to use a subdomain, as I didn’t really know if I’d be able to understand the technology and setup of how to operate a subdomain. To me, it sounded like a great thing to have, but seemed confusing to setup and use. But as my subdomain name suggests, I didn’t want to let my lack of understanding or fear of confusion keep me from learning.  I plan to use my subdomain to post my assignments and everything I learn in this class so hopefully at the end of this course I will have a better understanding of digital studies and be able to look back and see the development of my ideas regarding digital studies over time. So, I  chose to use a subdomain because I thought it would be a nice way to organize and quickly find my posts for this class, and I really want to work my hardest this semester to challenge myself outside my comfort zone and learn new things relating to digital studies.

This is my first time using a domain, but I am excited to go through this course and learn more about you all, and hopefully you all can learn a little more about me. Sadly, I am pretty addicted to my social media and have a Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and twitter account. Although you could say I am addicted, I mainly view my accounts as a way to stay connected to my friends and, most importantly, my family. All of my extended family and now my sisters don’t live near me anymore. I like to use my social media as a way to stay in touch and feel connected with everyone. I also like to use my social media accounts kind of like an online journal. Obviously it’s a little different than a regular journal as it’s on public display, but for me I like to upload pictures of all the fun things I do and places I go so that I can go and look back at everything I’ve done.