Real Future

MIT Researchers Want to Understand the Language of Gifs

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then an expertly-executed reaction gif is worth, like a thousand words per millisecond. Harnessing the potency of a Jennifer Lawrence cringe and the sheer force of a NeNe Leakes side-eye in a way that’s innately shareable and easily understood. They convey not only an emotional state, but a nuanced, specific state in one tidy, economical package. In fact, gifs’ capacity to convey so much information in such a quick, culturally-specific manner inspired two graduates working at the MIT Media Lab to quantify their meaningfulness.

Travis Rich and Kevin Hu created a site, GIFGIF, that allows users to choose which of two gifs best represents a specific emotional response, like, say, “satisfaction” or “disgust.” The goal, as they explain on the site, is to “create a tool that lets people explore the world of gifs by the emotions they evoke.”

To that end, here’s a helpful set of gifs to describe some common, everyday emotional responses:

“I Know I Look On-Point Overall But I Can Tell The Wings of My Eyeliner Are Slightly Uneven And It’s Drawing Attention to My Little Eye”

“I Wasn’t Sure About Making New friends as An Adult, But it Appears That This Person Hates All The Same People I Do”

“If This Person Mentions His Thought Catalog Piece on The Erotic Appeal of Yoga Pant Mooseknuckle One More Time…”

“I’m Going to Like My Own Facebook Status. About Me.”

“That Person Is So Hot I Wouldn’t Mind if She Wrote a Missed Connection About Smelling Me on the G Train”

“This Person Said the Word ‘Listicle’ Out Loud”

Story Tags

Organization

×
×

Stories not to be missed!

WUPPERTAL,GERMANY- APRIL 08: A lion is seen at the  Wuppertal  Zoo on April 8, 2009 in Wuppertal, Germany.  (Photo by Christof Koepsel/Getty Images)

Here's how this lion-killing dentist thing is going to play out

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - JULY 10:  Singer/songwriter Taylor Swift performs onstage during The 1989 World Tour Live at MetLife Stadium on July 10, 2015 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for TAS)

Taylor Swift’s stage malfunction last night exposed exactly what it means to be a pop star

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - DECEMBER 18:  A protestor holds a black lives matter t-shirt during a "Hands Up, Don't Shoot" demonstration in front of the San Francisco Hall of Justice on December 18, 2014 in San Francisco, California. Dozens of San Francisco public attorneys and activists staged a "Hands Up, Don't Shoot" demonstration to protest the racial disparities in the criminal justice system following the non-indictments of two white police officers who killed unarmed black men in Missouri and New York.  (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The next time someone says 'all lives matter,' show them these 5 paragraphs