Gifs (or otherwise known as graphic interchange format) have been around for ages it seems like when it comes to social media practices, but we are seeing a lot more focus, discussion, and features associated with these and how they can be applied for social media updates.

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For example, Buffer created a great post today about the benefits and strategic applications you can use gifs for your social media updates.

We have seen a lot of these practices being incorporated in sports, award shows, and incorporated by brands. Now, the question we have is – can we incorporate these as part of our classes as professors?

The answer of course is yes, and I have been trying to do this for a while now. I have to thank my former student Samantha Hughey for being the first student to incorporate these in their updates, proposed strategies for their internship, and creating them for her role within athletics.

So, how can professors use these?

  • Professor reaction: Gifs are another way of sharing your reaction in a creative, and relatable manner with your students. I do this all of the time for my #ProudProf moments with my students – my particular favorites of course involve Minions or clips from Pixar or Harry Potter movies of course. This adds a level of personality and character to make you as a professor memorable with your students.
  • Class reactions to guest speakers: What better way to not only thank a guest speaker for their time sharing their insights and expertise with your class, but express it in a thank you gif!
  • Explain an assignment or process to accomplish a task for class: This may be a great way to showcase your process (if you are using Hootsuite University) or if you are demonstrating how to run certain analytics for your social media campaign. Gifs can provide a quick, visual, and easy way to share with students a process on what they need to do for their assignment.
  • Gif Introductions for Students:¬†Instead of an elevator pitch, why not assign your students to create a gif to tell a story about who they are as a student, person, and where they want to be. They will need to be creative and visual to get their messages across.
  • Animate an assignment in a quick format: Infographics are good, but gifs provide a visual way of presenting the same information in a new way. If you had an overview of what you want to see in an upcoming assignment, promo for a guest speaker coming to class, or even upcoming week schedule for class. ¬†Plus, this allows you to brand your class in a new way. Plus, there are a ton of gif apps out there to share with your students as well. Lots of possibilities here!
  • Share resources with your students on how to make gifs: Don’t worry, there are a LOT of tools, apps, and resources out there in case you want to make your own gifs. Photoshop and there are lots of tutorials out there (like this slideshare one or this video from Digital Trends). Hubspot also has a good step-by-step process here as well. Lesson here is – there are a lot of resources out there for you to create your own gifs, so don’t worry!
  • Having class create a gif assignment: We have seen brands create ads as gifs to post on social media (particularly Twitter) – you can have your students create a mini ad / strategic brief showcasing how they could implement and apply gifs into their overall strategy. We have seen other professors incorporate gifs as part of a Buzzfeed assignment for their students to teach them about shareable content, clickbait links, etc like this professor did for his class.

In summary, we are seeing gifs being used more and more by practitioners, brands, and others in the social media world. As professors, we have to look at these trends and see how we could potentially use them for our own classes. There are a lot of creative opportunities here for professors to think about and be aware of.

Hope you all are having a great day!

Best Wishes,
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