According to Oxford Dictionary, GIF is the word of the year for 2012. It means “to create a GIF file of (an image or video sequence, especially relating to an event): he GIFed the highlights of the debate.”
It has inspired many political cartoons,
Captured cultural phenomenon...
And has summed up important events during the year 2012...
GIFs are quite popular throughout the internet and have changed the way people write. What can be summed up in a few words, a quick funny video image and put on Tumblr or anywhere else that hosts GIFs sites, it shapes the way people perceive information.
GIFs were used to sum up the political debates as well as have captured many political events here on PolicyMic. There are a few articles such as this one, this other one by Mark Kogan, this one by Sam Meier, another by John Giokaris and many others who have craftily explained important events using these amazing little pictures.
While context and facts are still important in stories, GIFs provide an easy way for people to picture events using simplistic ideas to convey, otherwise, tough issues. I myself have found the articles explained in GIFs to be helpful because I am a visual learner. It transforms complex ideas into easy, understandable concepts that most people can process. There are many talented authors who can paint pictures with words, such as J. R. R. Tolkein and Mark Twain, and I would never discredit their type of writing, but GIFs provide more visual stimulation to people who might not care about important issues.
Some may argue that GIFs “dumb” down writing styles and detract from the actual written word. I could agree with that, it just depends on the context of the GIFs. Some GIFs are just provided for fun while others do a great way of capturing a hard idea and putting it in simplistic terms.
When comparing stats from Hurricane Irene to Sandy, you can read this.
Top Wind Speed
Irene: 85 mph
Sandy: 94 mph
Diameter (extent of high winds)
Irene: 520 miles
Sandy: 940 miles
Or you could see this picture.
I believe that the GIF of Hurricane Sandy vs Irene does a pretty good job of capturing the magnitude of the storms. GIFs have seem to hit the mainstream media and culture and it’s here to stay.
It’s only too bad that YOLO didn’t make the cut. Well, what can you say,