Photo: Courtesy of Twitter.
The people spoke, and Twitter listened. After an outcry from users, the social-media giant has finally decided to support animated GIFs on its website and its iOS and Android apps. Until now, users could only view GIFs through the third-party platform Giphy, which would open the tweeted images in a separate window.
While Facebook has previously avoided supporting GIFs out of fear that a thousand dancing cats might pollute the look of its news feed, Twitter has solved the issue by including a play button that users must click if they want to see a GIF in action.
For all intents and purposes, Twitter is the digital age's leading method for breaking-news delivery and consumption, and, believe it or not, GIFs have become a huge part of that delivery system. While the looping image format is rooted in humor, if a singular moment that requires re-watching ever occurs, it's only seconds before the Twittersphere collectively calls out for a GIF. Jennifer Lawrence falling at The Oscars and Felix Baumgartner’s space dive come to mind. If Twitter wants to continue to be the populist service that it's become, adopting GIFs was an essential move.