Dude, I wish you had written this post years ago! Your reasoning behind using gifs instead of writing out a reaction is perfect and I’m totally stealing it for the next time one of my colleagues asks me why we use gifs on social media rather than good, old-fashioned words. Our generation and our new-fangled internets is just so complicated and we need to explain ourselves!
Do I sound bitter about this? Because I am.
Anyway, reading your post got me thinking about how I use gifs in my day-to-day life. I use them like words, pulling out specific ones in situations to help convey how I’m feeling. It’s almost like our generation is building a whole new language out of gifs, a gif “vocabulary” if you will.
It’s like our own version of hieroglyphics in a way, which future historians are going to have a bitch of a time translating. Good luck parsing out our gibberish, future generations!
Anyway, over the years I’ve compiled my own gif dictionary in my head. I have a set of gifs that I use over and over to convey specific, hard-to-define emotions.
For example, when I desperately want something, I always end up using the same gif from the cartoon, Invader Zim.
Of course, I could just use words. I could say I really, really want something, but I prefer to use this gif because it conveys something I can’t easily put into words. It says, “I am incredibly excited about this thing, so much so not getting this thing would be a tragedy of epic proportions!” It also lets the person who told me about said thing know that I very much appreciate them sharing.
I recently used this in response to Oskar Blues announcing the release of a coconut version of my favorite imperial stout. I have a limited amount of characters to work with on Twitter so I couldn’t exactly type out all of my feelings about this delicious creation. That’s where this gif comes in.
Boom! Look how much time and how many characters I just saved by sending a gif rather than typing that all out! I am the master of Twitter.
Another gif I routinely use is this:
This one I always use in response to something cute and I like it because it’s aggressive. It’s basically saying, “that thing is so cute that I am going to be aggressive about it because I am very serious about my love for it.” I recently used this in response to a picture of a bulldog dressed up as an ewok. That picture was SO CUTE that I was angry about it, thus “hearteyes, motherfucker!”
And I can’t talk about my favorite reaction gifs without including this one:
I use this one ALL THE TIME, especially when someone is playfully teasing me about something I love. Now, I want to let them know that they’re pissing me off, but I also want to keep it light-hearted so they know I’m not REALLY pissed off.
Recently BigCatDerek playfully teased his viewers about how “immature it is to participate in Halloween” and, being the spooky bitch I am, I was OFFENDED. How dare he say anything bad about my favorite holiday! I have lots of feelings about Halloween, none of which I’m really going to share with him because he’s teasing me, so I sent him this gif. It basically says, “I am about to go into full rant mode” without actually going into rant mode. A very simple gif for a very complex emotion.
Speaking of being a spooky bitch, there’s a gif out there that very accurately depicts what it’s like when new people enter my life:
People get to know me and basically get ambushed with spooky. There’s no easing you into my spooky habits, I go from zero to “talking about my favorite serial killers” real quick when it comes to meeting new people. Of course, this is very hard to describe in words. Thank god for reaction gifs! Now I can give people a fair warning before they come anywhere near me.
Anyway, I want to keep writing, but I’m currently on a plane heading down to Texas for vacation so I’m going to wrap it up. Maybe I’ll keep building my gif dictionary in my next post.