fyi [links, jun 2015]

Some more or less recent stuff, focussed on GIFs. Or other web animations. Or something else loosely connected to that.

First of all: You may wonder why certain links appear in this list, although the stories have been in the news days or weeks ago. For a simple reason: I don’t treat this monthly link collection as news ticker, but rather as a continuous “timeline” of how GIF culture is developing – including everything I find relevant: art projects, new GIF-related features on websites, research, commentaries and whatever else. And of course, if you have suggestions or think something is missing in these link lists, please feel free to add it in the comments or contact me.

Tumblr introduced their new GIF search feature
They say: “This might be a little crazy. This will definitely be fun.” One could also say it was totally overdue.

And not long before that: “Facebook Confirms It Will Officially Support GIFs

YouTube answered a The Daily Dot’s journalist’s request with an animated GIF and nothing else. In my opinion, this is even better than “no comment”, because it leaves the journalist amusingly clueless about what the expression of the GIF actually means. Great trolling. And a nice specimen for how the ambiguity of GIFs is their strenght but also the reason why they won’t replace words, just as I wrote about earlier.

Here is an insight to Chinese (Taiwanese, to be specific) research about GIFs: “Video (GIF) Sentiment Analysis using Large-Scale Mid-Level Ontology
Cai, Cao & Ji from Xiamen University assembled a huge database of animated GIFs and developed a framework to analyse emotions that are depicted in GIFs. The framework is called “GIF Sentiment Ontology (GSO)”. This kind of reminds me of the GIFGIF project, but with a different approach. I am curious to see if and how much these two collections from different cultures (GIFGIF and GSO) differ, regarding content, “genres” and other aspects of GIFs. Unfortunately I couldn’t find their promised-to-be-published database and they did not even state the source of the GIFs, only “from one of the most
popular micro-blog provider”.
side note: I was a little surprised to see GIFs being called “GIF videos” by Cai et.al. For me this is a rather unsusual designation – but it is actually quite honest. This study, as well as GIFGIF, handles GIFs as videos. I think they underestimate the impact of the loop, which is not mentioned at all. At least one aspect that is crucial to understand the distinctiveness of GIF culture is mentioned, but only as a problem – additional text: “The most common (around 34.49%) noise is explanative texts. They can reverse  the  GIF  sentiment.” Maybe it’s not noise, but a feature, perhaps even a vital one?

Finally, here is the Daily-Prophet-Moving-Image-Analogy I was waiting for. At least kind of. As Business Insider reports, the video autoplay feature on Facebook was inspired by the moving images on the newspaper from the Harry Potter storys. Well, I would have done it with GIFs or APNGs, but nobody asks me, of course:)

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