You Need to Standardize GIF Filenames

In their 30s, GIFs are the digital equivalent of middle-aged millennials: those who colorize late, who are now overworked and misunderstood. Today, they are the standard internet currency for texting and social media discussions, and since they are no longer a fashionable novelty, we were a little lazy with them. I’m talking to you, the senders of the grainy, choppy, overused reactions automatically suggested by the integration of their apps.

I’ll be clear: if you do a word search and use a GIF of the top 10 answers, you’re not kidding. I’ll be even more straightforward: you don’t even entertain anyone with your Jennifer-Lawrence reaction. Now I’ll just be angry: Throw your phone in the fucking river before you make another Dawson Leary cry, John Hill screams or Chrissy Teigen cringes on a GIF.

Here’s a rundown of what makes a good GIF. The perfect GIF is a seamless loop. If you have a hard time telling where the loop starts, then you’ve found (or better yet, made) a beautiful GIF. Instead, a great GIF is one that has an obvious loop but tells a story in its limited frame space. It can even work with a five like this one . The worst GIFs are looping too short, which makes them look jerky and unpleasant like this one . A bad GIF can make you motion sick if it’s on the screen for too long.

Overused GIFs are the visual counterpart of meaningless placeholders or responding to a friend’s news with the words “interesting.” (“Interesting” is the hollowest, infuriating answer to anything you’ve ever been told, but it’s a story for another day.) You’re better than this – or at least I hope you want it – so what here is an easy way Create your own war box with GIF reactions that are personal to you and your sense of humor, and not seen by all seven billion people on Earth.

You already know how to make a GIF , so I won’t dwell on that; instead, we need to talk about what to do when you already have those GIFs so you can use them easily. And it starts and ends with organization: standardize GIF filenames to include source, character name, physical descriptor, and emotional tone. When you find or create a great new GIF, take the extra moment to name it in a standardized way each time (and obviously save them in the appropriate folder on your device).

We’ve all experienced the frustrations of finding GIFs and having a hard time finding them – internet culture is the equivalent of a word at the tip of your tongue you just can’t remember. Organizing the file name from at least three different angles will help make sure you can always find it. This is how it looks to me; this method works for me, but you can customize it, but it works best for you:

Neon Genesis Evangelion – Gendo Ikari – Fire glasses – Brooding Scheming.gif

If you can’t remember the TV show, you can remember the character; if you can’t remember the character, you can remember how you personally described the emotional tone, and so on. By storing your GIFs (or any image files, in fact) with a personalized, standardized naming convention, I ensure you find what you need, when you need it. The filename will be long, but the effort will be worth it.

So organize your GIFs as you save them so they are there for you when you need them. You don’t have to make your own GIFs every time – although you can, and to those who do, I salute you – but please don’t do more, Emma Stone .

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