Tumblr: the Gift of the GIF

Tumblr popularized the GIF but it never made it a central focus to the platform. So sites like Giphy emerged and wisely opened its API to plug into Twitter, Facebook, and Google's new iOS keyboard, Gboard.

So how did Tumblr get left behind with a format that made it unique?

For one, you could blame Yahoo for slowing things down. But you could also blame Tumblr's own myopia: No one owns the GIF. And Tumblr sat on the sidelines while other social platforms made their own GIF-creation tools.

GIF creation used to be hard! It required a computer and Photoshop. Both Instagram and VSCO released GIF-making apps before Tumblr, with Boomerang and DSCO respectively. Tumblr eventually released a GIF maker but hid it under the photo-post section. Doh!

Finally, Tumblr has got it together and made GIFs one of the default posting types as it should've been in the first place. But now I think it's too late. Giphy is running away with the GIF format, as a place to discover GIFs but also t create your own with a screenshot of video from the web.

Tumblr, I refuse to delete you from iPhone because your creative community makes amazing things. But stay on top of the latest tools. Give your community paintbrushes and palettes. Snapchat flipped social media on its head. People want to make stuff, not just consume it.

PS: Props to Slit-Scanner for the GIF remix.

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Published by Wells Baum

A daily blogger who connects the dots between arts and life.

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