☰ Sidebar
Voting period for this idea type has passed

SXSW Interactive 2016

Why GIFs are Turning Into the New Emojis on Mobile

Until recently, GIFs were a passing novelty. They had existed about 20 years when websites like Reddit and Buzzfeed led their resurgence. A critical collision of mobile network speeds and shrinking attention spans has created an inflection point in GIFs and a new video vernacular.

We’re wired to respond to motion, so video would have been the preference all along if it were possible. However, tech constraints like slow mobile network speeds left us choosing text. Speeds are just now fast enough to fully support video, and we’re seeing GIFs rise with it.

This will cover why Gen Z is choosing video over words, why our attention spans are shrinking, and how video will work on wearable.

Share this idea


  1. Generation Z is opting for visual, moving content (i.e. Snapchat videos, GIFs, Vine, etc). Why is this shift happening just now with this generation?
  2. Attention spans are getting shorter - 3 to 5 seconds is the new 3 to 5 minutes - and GIFs cater to that. Why are our attention spans shrinking?
  3. Video is just starting to crack the mobile world, and now wearables are beginning to come out. What will be the video strategy for wearables?


  • David McIntosh, Co-founder & CEO, Riffsy


Maggie Squires, Dir, Moxie Group Communications

Meta Information:

  • Tags: gifs, video, messaging
  • Event: Interactive
  • Format: Solo
  • Track: Content and Distribution
  • Level: Advanced
Show me another idea

Add Comments

comments powered by Disqus

SXSW reserves the right to restrict access to or availability of comments related to PanelPicker proposals that it considers objectionable.