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Our Lives Are Too Boring to GIF

Do GIFmaking apps fail to address how we really use GIFs?

by Rachel Pick
Nov 2 2015, 5:49pm

Image: Dian Nurrokhim/YouTube

Despite the GIF's surge in popularity on social media, two recently released apps dedicated to creating your own GIFs haven't quite taken off.

Instagram's Boomerang, which takes a burst of photos and stitches them into a 1-second clip, was released October 22. One week later, photo editor VSCO released DSCO, their GIF-making tool. Unlike Boomerang, DSCO translates video clips of up to 2.5 seconds into GIFs.

But despite a healthy amount of press devoted to the release of both apps, neither one is on the list of the top 100 downloaded iPhone apps as of Monday, according to the analytics firm App Annie. If you filter by category, DSCO and Boomerang are #31 and #34 on the chart for Photo and Video apps. (Since DSCO is not yet available for Android, I only looked at iPhone data.)

This may reflect a strong trend in how people actually use GIFs. Most often, GIFs are pulled from content that is not our own—movies, tv shows, YouTube videos of puppies learning how to go down stairs. They're used as comical shorthand, in-jokes, and memes. The appeal of making GIFs from our own worlds might be slower to catch on.

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