New: GIFGIF Student Project Sorts the World of Animated GIFs by Emotion
GIFs are the second-most sophisticated form of expression on the Internet, after linking to Paul Krugman columns. Which is why you should always have a robust collection of them on hand. Now you need look no further than GIFGIF, a vast database of GIFs sorted by emotion.
The site, launched by MIT Media Lab students Travis Rich and Kevin Hu, is an interactive project that collects data about a visitor’s emotional reactions to GIFs and then uses that information to add to and categorize its growing collection of animated images. The result is a fantastic digital tome of GIFs that range in category from contempt to satisfaction to pride.
The data is collected quite simply. Whenever you visit the site, you’re presented with a question (for example, “Which better expresses satisfaction?”) and two GIFs. You must then make a quick selection. Sometimes there’s a clear winner. Sometimes neither applies. But once you’ve voted, Rich and Hu use that data to add to their detailed collection.
When I say detailed, I’m not joking. If you’re looking for a GIF that expresses an intersection of four or five different emotions, you can use a search feature that allows you to rank the expressional parameters of the feeling you’re trying to convey. In other words, you can find the perfect cross-section between, say, pleasure, shame, pride and relief.
Currently the site is made up of 1,024 GIFs that Rich and Hu refer to as “naturally grown, free-range gifs.” They were plucked from the popular GIF site Giphy, but Rich and Hu plan to add new clips to the site soon.