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.



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