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On Twitter, GIFs are VIFs and That's Okay

On Twitter, GIFs are VIFs and That’s Okay

June 24, 2014
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Last week, Twitter announced that they support GIFs and everyone rejoiced-seriously, everyone. Then we found out that Twitter’s GIFs are actually embedded MP4 videos implemented with HTML5, and that’s not bad.

We all know GIFs, they are familiar to us in conversation, we know their file size can get really big and that’s in direct correlation with load times, and they’re basically defined as images stitched together that loop forever in the instantiated document window until you navigate away.

Twitter’s idea of converting the GIFs to MP4 actually cuts down on those gargantuan file sizes by as much as 10 times! For mobile browsing in particular, those big GIFs are a pain to load and browse around a whole page of on, say, Tumblr, for instance. Sean Creeley at embed.ly gives a great rundown on viewing the difference between the VIF and the beloved GIF.

An HTML5 video can be paused, which means no endless looping and no telling your friends to, “wait-let it start before you look.” HTML5 videos offer the ability to pause, rewind, and restart-even slow down a VIF by harnessing HTML5s keyframes.

In short, sure Twitter tried to soothe you by inviting you to upload and see GIFs when you’re browsing, but these embedded VIFs will ultimately cut down on page load time and even give you the ability to pause, rewind, and slow down your favorite clips! You can even use the Recordit software that supports GIFs and is optimized for Twitter, so there’s no reason to be confused or saddened. Twitter is ahead of the game and it benefits us all.

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