I will admit there was a time I thought animated gifs were cool. This was not back during the dawn of the interwebs, when they were small graphics made to loop on repeat and make your page look like it was on fire or something. No. I did not think they were cool then. My change of heart started when we switched from that sort of animated gift to this sort of animated gif:
I love this gif. It makes me laugh. Every time I see it, it enchants and mystifies me. Why do I love this gif but not others? A few reasons:
- there is a dog sitting on a chair
- the dog is dancing
- the dog stops dancing when a guy pops through the door
In broader terms:
- there is an unusual situation
- a character is behaving in a interesting way in that situation
- there is conflict between that character and another character
It has all components of a good story, and it leaves much to the viewer’s imagination. It is a masterpiece contained in just a few seconds. Also, dancing pug. (!)
Most animated gifs are nothing like this one. They are short clips from movies, usually of some star making a funny face.
However, the main issue with animated gifs is not that most of them are inane. It’s that suddenly they are EVERYWHERE. In the already clamorous world of the internet, among every kind of social sharing bar known to man, every kind of ad that is trying to get us to click, we now have these short animated sequences buried in every blog post. It’s worse than the trend to drop in erroneous stock photography everywhere there happens to be a gap.
I, as a reader, find it difficult to read when there is a frame playing on loop within my field of vision.
Most people write blogs because they want people to read them, yes?
So why are so many bloggers doing this? It’s akin to selling a monkey with every copy of your book. It ensures your reader will not be able to settle in and enjoy the story you’re telling because there is always something chaotic and/or adorable in the background, stealing the spotlight.