Twitter is trying to save itself with longer tweets, algorithmic timelines and now animated GIFs. GIFs are a thing of beauty, people are using them to convey emotion and how they feel about different scenarios or situations they find themselves in on a daily basis. GIFs are fun!
Up to this point I have had to rely on a GIF keyboard on iOS to find a GIF, download it to the camera roll and then upload it to Twitter from the app. It is a bit tedious and when you want something fast its just not practical.
Yesterday Twitter announced in a blog post that they are starting to roll out a new feature which will allow users to find and use GIFs quickly without having to leave Twitter. A new GIF button is being introduced to the compose box where GIFs will be sorted into categories and when you find what you are looking for you simply press the GIF and it pops into the tweet.
— Twitter (@twitter) February 17, 2016
The feature will also work in DM’s and is powered by GIF hosting sites Giphy and Riffsy so there will be lots to choose from. Facebook also has a GIF button but it is only available for Facebook Messenger which is kind of boring. However Twitter is enabling a GIF button for both public tweets and private DM’s and that is much more fun.
This is the latest change which is designed to make Twitter appear more appealing to new users. The company’s latest financial earnings report showed that they have sustained a user base of 320 million active monthly users and boosted revenue by 58% in the last quarter. However the company is still losing money and it is very slowly bleeding users. Stock has been sinking to an all time low while Instagram and Snapchat have caught up with and surpassed Twitter entirely.
GIFs won’t do anything to make the site easier to use, it won’t help tackle an ever growing harassment problem on the site and it won’t save the dropping share price. However GIFs are fun and that might just be what Twitter needs right now – fun.
As always with new Twitter features this is a staggered rollout so don’t worry if you don’t see the GIF button just yet.