What is a GIF?

by Sr. Susan Wolf, SND on February 14, 2017

in Facebook, social media, Twitter, website

If you want to add a little more life to your Facebook Pages and Tweets, you may want to look at GIFS.  What is a GIF (pronounced either with a soft g as in “jif” or with a hard g as in gift)?  GIF is an acronym for Graphics Interchange Format.  It is a file format that supports static and animated images.

GIFs allow you to present a short video clip in a far more condensed image format, and without sound. In other words, they’re quick, soundless videos that loop and don’t require a play button.[i]

Here’s a GIF that could be used for Valentines Day:


GIFS can be funny or entertaining ways to grab attention or express an emotion very succinctly. They can be embedded on websites as you see here, or uploaded to Facebook and Twitter and other social media platforms. Here is one you could use to promote your Lenten Fish Fry.


Facebook allows you to post a GIF to your Page, but not as a direct upload.  You must post a link to the GIF from the site where you found it.  If you try to upload a GIF directly to Facebook, it will convert it to a static image.  A good source for GIFS is giphy.com. The “giphy link” found in its share area is coded to play on Facebook. You can also use the Facebook share link from giphy.com to post on Facebook.

Twitter is more helpful.  Below the box where you type your Tweet, you will see icons for several actions:





Click on the GIF icon and a search box appears. Type in the emotion or reaction you want and see what comes up.  If you find one you like, add it to your Tweet. These are fun to use if you are in a Twitter stream responding to a sports game in progress or a big event like the Grammys or if you want to make a special response to someone else’s Tweet.

If you want to use GIFS for your online ministry, take a few minutes to read this article by Evan LaPage.  He outlines some best practices for businesses who want to use GIFS.  Nearly everything he writes applies to how we present ourselves online as well. He provides some other resources that you may find helpful. The Ultimate GIF Guide for Social Media Marketers,

Are you using GIFs?  Have you created your own GIFs?  If yes, tell us about it in the comments below.

[i] Evan LaPage, The Ultimate GIF Guide for Social Media Marketers, Hootsuite Enterprise Blog, August 2016.


Tony Krisak February 14, 2017 at 11:09 am

Yes, I have used gif’s but found your article very informative. Thanks. All the best.