The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Tuesday April 13th

UNC GIFable elevates GIFs from meme culture to storytelling

It appears to be an exclusive club: shimmying Shaquille O’Neal, crying Michael Jordan, that one guy blinking a lot. But Kelsey Hammer wants to show students just how easy it is to make and star in your own GIFs. 

“I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if everyone were GIF-ing?’” Hammer said. “Because everyone loves GIFs, we use them all the time, and being able to create them is really fun.” 

Hammer, a graduate assistant at the Undergraduate Library, has worked with students in GIF creation workshops offered in the UL before. She created the UNC GIFable contest to introduce more students to what she considers an enjoyable and educational design challenge.



“I think it’s a really great way to introduce people to design principles,” she said. “I think the best way to learn design skills is to start with something really fun and easy and then work your way up, and this is kind of the perfect stepping stone.”

Jennie Goforth, research and design services librarian at the Undergraduate Library, said the UL wanted to offer students the opportunity to take GIFs beyond their informal origin and use them as storytelling tools. Goforth also noted that creating GIFs is good practice in design, as well as a chance for students to record parts of their life at Carolina.  



“(GIFs are) gaining traction and becoming more than just a silly little internet thing. It’s becoming a real way to communicate stories and ideas and emotions,” Goforth said. “We really wanted a way to kind of bring attention to that.”

After students create their GIF, they can submit them to the UNC GIFable website. All the GIFs are then collected on a single voting page where anyone will be able to vote on their favorite GIF. The contest opened on Sept. 21 and will close Nov. 15, though Hammer says she is thinking of extending the deadline so that UNC GIFable could work with classes or student groups. Voting opens in mid-October. 

Goforth said GIFs submitted to the contest will also be put into archives so that they can become part of the University’s historical record. 

The contest has two categories: UNC History and UNC 2017. Students can make a GIF of their own UNC experience or use photos from the University archives, made available on the UNC GIFable website. Hammer said these two categories allow students to show the vastness and diversity of UNC culture, thus creating a digital tapestry of the University. 

“We thought this was a great community project,” Hammer said. “We could work together to create a moving portrait of UNC.”



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