by Cameron Thorburn
June 26th, 2015

By Cameron Thorburn, Vice President and Head of Digital, Weber Shandwick Australia
Follow me @TheCamT

I recently had an email conversation with a colleague purely using GIFs. It was a hotly contested debate – complete with point, counterpoint, rebuttal – of the merits of a new pop song.

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It was also a perfect real-world illustration of a point made by Adam Leibsohn, COO of GIPHY (the largest search platform dedicated to animated visuals) presenting at the PSFK 2015 innovation conference in May – it’s easier and quicker to communicate in GIF.

Adam’s presentation “Why GIFs Are the Words of the Future”, in which he states, “Our words have been replaced by our culture”, is an interesting point of view on how we communicate in this digital era, dominated by short form content and even shorter attention spans.

His visual aids during the presentation? Purely GIFs of course.

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I really appreciate how Adam was able to present using only GIFs. I found these GIFs supported what he was presenting, allowing me to focus on what he was saying – making me far more engaged.

The shared culture Adam talked about means the GIFs he used to support his story were almost a new kind of shorthand, particularly when it comes to presenting emotional concepts. When he’s talking about love, and his GIFs show us famous couples from TV & movies, kissing, we know exactly what he’s talking about.

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In an always-on and information-overloaded world, GIFs offer more descriptive ways to convey our emotions in a shorter amount of time.

Of course, the way we prefer to consume content differs from person to person, but this is an interesting concept that we as communications and digital professionals should consider – is The Word’s Time Done? I’m not sure that’s quite the case, but if nothing else, this particular presentation is a great example of the power of presenting with images rather than text.

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Perhaps something to consider when you put together your next presentation?

Let me know what you think – in GIF form if you can!

Adam Leibsohn was speaking at the PSFK 2015 conference and you can check out his  presentation here.

All GIFs sourced from

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