Social Media

GIFs are shaking up texting as we know it

Remember the early days of texting when you had to push the "7" key a dreaded four times to type the letter "S." Thankfully, smartphones have since made faceless communication exponentially easier—without multi-tapping.

Although texting on a smartphone has proven to be far less taxing on users' thumbs, there is a new shift in messaging taking place: GIF keyboards.

Riffsy's GIF Keyboard—launched in late 2014—takes users beyond emojis, the colorful and playful icons available as a keyboard on your smartphone. And just like emojis, GIFs offer a new way to say, "I'm stressed," "I love you," or "That was funny."

With a sleek design and millions of categorized GIFs, Riffsy's GIF Keyboard was downloaded more than a million times in its first three weeks, with the majority of users installing it as an alternative to plain text and emoji in their keyboard section.

According to the company, on average, its users open the GIF Keyboard nine times a day and share more than five GIFs every 24 hours. And choices continue to grow. Since its release, Riffsy has struck content partnerships with NBCUniversal, the parent company of CNBC, and 20th Century Fox.

"Accelerating mobile download speeds and usage of mobile messaging apps has created a perfect storm for the explosion of visual communication with GIFs and videos," said David McIntosh, co-founder and CEO of Riffsy. "The half a billion daily users of emoji has set the stage for visual communication, and users are turning to GIFs and short videos to better express their feelings, emotions and aspirations through shared cultural moments."

This ability to quickly pull up a very-human reaction in a matter of seconds, copy it directly into an email or message app and send it out takes the emoji effect to an entirely different level.

These keyboards now facilitate highly expressive content that may not be properly conveyed with words or a mere "Heart Eyes" emoji—all with the push of a button.

In addition to helping step up your messaging game, GIF keyboards can also provide some pretty interesting data to shed light on the emotions and reactions of users during any given time period.

For instance, the San Francisco-based company found that prior to the start of Super Bowl XLIX, the most searched Riffsy GIFs included #food, #party, #hungry and #drunk. However, once the game began, very basic phrases such as #yes, #no, #sad and #crying were among some of the most used GIFs.

The shift shown in trending GIFs in conjunction with the timing of the game showcases what users were presumably doing at the time of search and exactly how they were feeling at that moment. Additionally, the simplicity of the searches could show a shift in the amount of thought (or lack thereof) that is actually being put into the messaging process.

So what do emojis and GIFs mean for faceless communication? Will the text in text messaging become obsolete?

We'll let this GIF speak for itself.