How I Learned to Love Retro-Style Media like Instagram and Animated Gifs

3 years ago

Sometimes I feel like an old fuddy-duddy when it comes to new technology, which is ridiculous since I work in Digital Media and have a Masters Degree in said field.  But I'll be honest-it took me a while to understand why Instagram was so cool.

You want me to take a nice photo and turn it into a washed out picture that looks like it's as old as I am?  What??

But then I noticed Shutterfly and Snapfish started selling new products especially for square (Ie: Instagram) prints and then I thought "Oooh how cute."

Same thing happened with these animated gifs that are now all the rage.   You see them as memes and segments on talk shows.  But again-I didn't get it.

You want me to take a perfectly good picture and make a piece of digital media that's circa 1996?  We've moved waaay beyond that now.  Why is going backwards cool?

But then I saw the best Cliff Notes version of a TV episode ever-summed up as an animated gif.  It was tweeted out by Bravo's Watch What Happens Live account (@BravoWWHL) promoting tonight's show which will feature Carol Radziwill from Real Housewives NY, and they would be discussing #BookGate.  OMG! I had missed the episode and had no idea what they were talking about.  Never fear-I simply clicked on the Tumbler link.

Tweet from Bravo's Watch What Happens Live Acct
Tweet from Bravo's Watch What Happens Live Acct

Bravo had created 4 animated gifs to capture this new #BookGate controversy--basically an argument between two of the Housewives-Carole Radziwill and Aviva Drescher.  It was hilarious, entertaining, and within seconds I got the gist of the argument and knew who's side I was on.  (Body language says a lot.)

It was a great use of this retro animation style for which I now have a new appreciation. Quick, succinct, and eye-catching.  I will definitely think more about using animated gifs in the future.

And I guess when I think about it, I shouldn't poo-poo retro-style things like Instagram and animated gifs.  Quick nostalgic-style modes of communication glorify eras-gone-by, striking balance in a world that is always moving forward.




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