Pinterest, the last bastion of good taste in social media, is opening the floodgates to animated GIFs.
In the company's announcement, which already looks like a Buzzfeed listicle, Pinterest on Thursday demonstrated the wide range of wacky moving images now available to pinners, from dancing Beyoncé to a pixelated scene from Star Wars.
A Pinterest spokesperson told ReadWrite that while Pinterest has been testing the feature for a little while now, 100% of pinners will have GIF functionality on their desktops, and soon on mobile. The first Pinterest GIFs may have already arrived on your dashboard, in fact, but you won't notice until you press "play" on them—so no looping animations until you click.
"Now when you Pin a GIF, a play and pause button will appear in the lower lefthand corner of the Pin itself," the spokesperson said.
GIFs are a divisive issue among Internet folk, from where and when they should be used, to whether it’s a soft or hard “g” when you say it out loud. Perhaps this discord explains why Facebook still doesn’t support GIFs; for that matter, neither does Twitter. At last count, Pinterest was the third largest social network online, making it the largest one yet to support animated GIFs.
See also: Pinterest Is Changing The Way We Blog
But even though GIFs often take us back to a tacky, Geocities-esque landscape of dripping blood and revolving “Sign my guestbook!” demands, the modern GIF isn’t the lowbrow, old-fashioned holdover it sometimes seems to be. Design-conscious Pinterest was likely persuaded by the fact that some artists, like Greta Larkins of Fashion GIF, use animated GIFs as a preferred medium for their work.
According to Andréa Lopez, a marketer and Pinterest expert, GIFs are far more controversial than they need to be. As she recently wrote in favor of Pinterest GIF support:
What’s going on is everybody has PTSD about MySpace looking junky, and thinking it’s because of animated GIF support. It’s not. Staid classy-joints Pocket, Medium, and Storify all support animated GIFs just fine. Not to mention Tumblr. It’s not the GIF, it’s the creator. Some profiles look crazy no matter what. Some look beautiful no matter what. It’s up to the creator/curator.
Pinterest is full of curators. But it remains to be seen, when it comes to animated GIFs, whether they’re the classy or crazy kind. After all, Buzzfeed has a pretty solid Pinterest following.
Photo via Pinterest.