Putting the like on the GIF
Only after a decade Facebook dares to allow GIF images on it’s platform. Untill recently the company was afraid that this functionality would make your wall look like a Geocities webpage.
Since its early existence Facebook has chosen to not allow animated GIF images on its platform. It does so while technically the 1987 file-format shouldn’t be chalenging to handle. Moreover, the feature was ready to be pushed live for several years but “internal debate over esthetics” held back the final decision.
So why is it that facebook has now, all of a sudden changed its mind? Pressure from other social networks that did allow users to post GIFs has been around for plenty of time now. Perhaps facebook has noticed that an era of meme’s is getting to an end – a purpose the GIF has been widely abused for. More likely, someone important realized that GIFs people like to share these days are probably a lot different from their 1990’s counterparts. Sure there will be occasional throwbacks with rotating hearts and “under construction” signs but i’m convinced these will prove to be nostalgic whims. Not something younger generations will use anymore. The interesting thing then is that while we will see images different from before, the technology remains the same. Hence the GIF esthetic is not merely decided by its content but rather by its technological formality. Leaving room for contemporary use without the danger of anagronistic webstyles.
Allowing GIF images is only one of many (esthetic) interface choices Facebook is thinking about very careful before changing it. This writing by Alistair Sutcliffe explains how esthetics along with excitement factors have a big part in today’s online user experiences.