Just as Emoji’s announced the release of hundreds of new ideograms last week, as I wrote for iNexxus, Twitter has announced that it will support GIFs, looping continuous images. The response has been varied, some claiming that it has taken Twitter too long to support animated GIFs--which Readwrite.com stated points to a larger systemic problem within Twitter.
Images and Words
According to Lauren Orsini from Readwrite, images have surpassed text’s appeal: “as attention spans shorten and Internet speeds, increase it’s clear which we prefer.” I’m not sure if we’re necessarily a doltish generation, but what remains true is that images spark an initial emotional response more immediate than text. Simply, an image has greater initial potential to catch the audience’s attention and lure the lackadaisical internet reader.
The “Triumph of the Visual Web”
Again Lauren Orsini from Readwrite has expanded on the changing world of virtual communication, specifically visual changes. Interestingly enough, the visual web has attracted a demographic of young and up-to-the-minute following and women of all ages. These subgroups have been dictating how social media evolved. Take into account Pinterest and how its predominantly female user base shifted its pin and share focus onto retail. Regardless of how you stand on the topic, it remains to be said that the way we communicate and are entertained--on and offline!-- has gone through various mutations.
The changing scope of the internet we have witnessed in the previous year has made it indispensable for companies such as Twitter to adopt more visual attributes or risk losing out on potential profits. Orsini states:
As Twitter is probably well aware, young people aren’t adopting the social network at the same rate they once were. Instead, they’re over at Tumblr, Snapchat, WeHeartIt, and upstarts too new to name, each with one thing in common—heavily visual interfaces.
The appeal of images can be seen in the shifting attitudes towards advertisements. Although Instagram users scoffed at the ads on their image feeds, these ads generated 32 more likes than conventional brand images quoted Orsini from Curalate. There are numerous examples of how marketable the visual web has become and the revenue potential seems to only be growing.
So, back to GIFs
Many a tweet has gone unnoticed in the cacophony of tweets that comprise our Twitter feed and therein lies the problem affecting Twitter. Its users lose interest in a platform that does not lend itself to personal family posts and cute animal videos as say, Facebook does. Thus, supporting GIFs may be a great way for Twitter to make a comeback and not get lost in the noise of social media. Just as the World Cup has proven itself GIF worthy, Twitter may rebound from its impasse and hop onto the visual web train it missed long ago.