Using Giphy, the GIF Database We’ve Been Waiting For

Being based in Champaign-Urbana, I often chat with my long-distance friends over email and social media when we don’t have time for those long, three hour phone calls that will leave you with a sore throat and warm feelings. When you’re trying to communicate the inexpressible over email or text, the easiest way is through the use of GIFs. Needless to say, our GIF-based conversations end up being silly, and at times nonsensical. However our display of pop-cultural savvy and image-based rhetoric provides entertainment throughout the longest days.

My clear ‘need’ for GIFs is why I’m so thrilled to write about Giphy! Giphy is both an archive, search engine, and hub designed to help you find the perfect GIF for whatever you’re trying to express or convey to the digital world. Giphy is a great resource not only for personal use, but in terms of research, is an excellent database for anyone doing research on New Media, internet culture, fandoms, or time-based media.

Giphy even has a page dedicated to a curated selection of talented GIF artists, if you’re interested in the field of internet art. The variety of designs and topics shared on GIPHY are truly incredible, and also serve as a great resource for anyone studying digital communications.

Giphy fills a need for GIFs of your favorite fandom (can you guess mine?):

giphy

GIFs expressing your successes (and your childhood):

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and of course, your frustration:

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If you’re not exactly sure what type of GIF you’re searching for, check out GiphyTV, a full-screen randomized selection of GIFs from every edge of the digital sphere. If one of your talents is creating GIFs, you can upload your work onto Giphy to be used and shared by people all over the world!

You can search Giphy not only by artist, but also by category, and when you find a GIF that seems to understand you more fully than your high school friends, you can save it to your favorites for easy access. All GIFs on Giphy can be shared easily to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr.

While Giphy is treasure trove of stimulation, it is also a really well organized search engine. All GIFs have the option to be tagged to make them more easily searchable, and most also include a link to the original source of the GIF. Searches are also enhanced by Giphy’s use of metadata sorted via hashtags.

For example, the GIF below, featuring Bette Davis, is tagged as: #yes, #agree, #bette davis, #amen, #approve. While this is a somehwat silly example, it’s pretty awesome that affirmative gestures can be shared and expressed in so many ways! (Right, Bette?)

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On stock photography

Stock photography is a common means of providing visual content brochures, magazines, advertisements, etc. in order to enhance a textual point and engage viewers. The advantage of stock photography is that it is less expensive than a photo shoot, and it is instantly available through a number of vendors such as Getty Images and Corbis Images. For more stock photo options, check out the finding and using images subject guide.

Salad Woman

cable knit + salad = unstoppable!

Recently, Leanin.org and Getty images have announced a collaboration aimed at changing the way women are portrayed in stock photography. Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook executive and author of “Lean In,” is hoping that providing an image collection depicting alternative views of women and families will undermine current stereotypes.

“When we see images of women and girls and men, they often fall into the stereotypes that we’re trying to overcome, and you can’t be what you can’t see,” Ms. Sandberg said in an interview (Miller 2014). As described in Miller’s article, Sandberg is referencing the stereotypes of women multitasking with briefcases and babies, wearing dated “power suits,” or cheerfully attending to children. The Lean In collection features women as “surgeons, painters, bakers, soldiers, and hunters. There are girls riding skateboards, women lifting weights and fathers changing babies’ diapers. Women in offices wear contemporary clothes and hairstyles and hold tablets or smartphones” (Miller 2014). Sandberg is not alone in recognizing stereotypes prevalent in stock photography; Emily Shornick and Edith Zimmerman have pulled together stock photography memes such as women laughing alone with salad.

“The initiative is particularly important right now, said Jonathan Klein, co-founder and chief executive of Getty, because of the surge of image-based communication that has arisen from smartphone cameras and sites and apps like Pinterest and Instagram. Imagery has become the communication medium of this generation, and that really means how people are portrayed visually is going to have more influence on how people are seen and perceived than anything else,” Mr. Klein said” (Miller 2014).

With three of the most searched terms in Getty’s database being “women,” “business,” and “families,” this new collection of 2,500 images will quickly become relevant. Getty subscribers can search for relevant terms and see these images alongside the current collection, or they can specifically search Getty’s Lean In collection.

References:

Miller, Claire Cain. (2013, February 9). Leanin.org and Getty aim to change women’s portrayal in stock photos. New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/10/business/leaninorg-and-getty-aim-to-change-womens-portrayal-in-stock-photos.html?_r=0