How to Share a GIF on Twitter

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Get Started with Sharing Animated GIF Images on Twitter

Share GIFs on Twitter
Photo © Venki Talath / Getty Images

On February 17, 2016, Twitter announced that it was rolling out a new feature powered by the web's most popular GIF search engine (Giphy) and a popular GIF keyboard platform (Riffsy) to bring built-in GIF sharing to Twitter.

Twitter has supported inline animated GIFs within users' feeds for some time already, but this new expansion to promote even more GIF sharing aims to make it even easier and more fun to tweet with animated images. You won't even have to leave Twitter to do it.

Recommended: The Rise of the Animated GIF

Why Share GIFs on Twitter?

So why would anyone want to share a GIF on Twitter as opposed to a standard image or a video? Well, here are a few good reasons:

  • GIFs can tell stories better than standard images
  • Unlike videos, which you have to sit through to watch, GIFs get the point across silently, automatically and in a mere matter of seconds before looping back to the beginning.
  • GIFs help users express their emotions and reactions more accurately
  • GIFs grab users' attention instantly, meaning that your tweets will stand out better and attract more interaction.

Overall, GIFs are just really entertaining and fun to use on practically any social networking platform that supports them. Here's hoping that About.com might consider adding GIF support at some point so I can fill these articles and slideshows with animated images.

For a quick screenshot tutorial of how to use Twitter's supercharged GIF sharing feature, click through the following slides.

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Compose a New Tweet and Press the 'GIF' Button

Twitter GIF Button
Image made with Canva.com

Twitter says that the GIF-sharing feature is slowly rolling out to all users on all platforms, so sit tight if you don't seem to see the same stuff on your own Twitter account when following this tutorial. I have the new GIF sharing feature on mobile, but it hasn't arrived for me yet on the desktop web.

Recommended: Here's How You Can Share GIFs on Facebook

Previously, to share a GIF on Twitter, you had to either save a .gif image to your computer or device and then share it by uploading it via Twitter's photo sharing feature. Alternatively, you could head over to Giphy.com or use the Giphy mobile app to find a GIF, press the Twitter share button and the share it as a rich media link. Both options involved leaving Twitter to access another site, app or folder on your computer/device.

Now, all you have to do is click the tweet composer and look for the little GIF icon between the photo/video camera icon and the poll icon. You no longer have to navigate away from Twitter.

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Browse Through the GIF Categories

Twitter GIF Categories
Image made with Canva.com

As soon as you press that GIF button in the tweet composer, a new tab will appear with a grid of labeled GIFs. These are categories that you can browse through to find the perfect GIF that matches exactly what you're trying to communicate.

Tap or click on the category of your choice to see the GIFs contained in them. All of them animate right before your eyes, so you don't have to tap or click one to preview it first.

Recommended: Create a GIF of Your Own with the Giphy Cam App

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Use the Search Function to Find a Specific GIF

Twitter GIF Search
Image made with Canva.com

If you can't find the perfect GIF by browsing through the categories, you can alternatively perform a specific search by typing in a keyword or phrase in the search field at the top.

As an example, when I type "kittens" into the field and hit search, all the GIFs that have been tagged with that keyword are shown in my results. I can then scroll through them and select the cute kitten GIF that I want.

 

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Select Your GIF of Choice, Add a Caption and Tweet It!

Twitter GIF Post
Image made with Canva.com

Tap or click on the GIF you want to use and it will automatically be inserted into your tweet. You can always hit the X in the top right corner of the GIF to delete it if you chance your mind.

Add an optional caption by typing it in above the GIF and you're ready to tweet it out to your followers! Once it's been tweeted, it will show up inline on your profile feed and in the home feed of users who follow you to see your tweets.

Recommended: How to Search Your Own Tweets in Your Twitter Feed

It would be great if Twitter brought some extra features that allowed us to favorite certain GIFs so we could reuse them or save them to use for later. You can do this with a regular user account on Giphy, but so far this hasn't been integrated with Twitter and there's no telling whether it will be added at any point in the future.

Want to explore more great ways to use GIFs? Check out the following resources: