The Phenomenological Exploration of Animated GIF Use in Computer-Mediated Communication
Madden, John Savery
MetadataShow full item record
The current study seeks to remedy the lack of scholarly investigation into the use of animated GIFs in computer-mediated communication (CMC). Through phenomenological analysis of in-depth 1-on-1 interviews with individuals engaging in the behavior, one over-arching theme was found with the four underlying sub-themes of: Choice, Meaning, Use and Gratification. Individuals using animated GIFs in their CMC seem to formulate a mental image of an expression they wish to demonstrate and select a GIF that fits a particular context, within a specific conversation, with a specific person. Individuals seem to construct meaning of animated GIFs by reading social cues such as facial expressions and body language presented by the actors in the GIF and combining it with the context of the conversation and the person or persons they are communicating with. Individuals seem to use animated GIFs to actively compensate for the lack of social cue transmission in CMC, and seem do so for the purpose of humor, clarification of message, and to increase saliency. Lastly, this whole process seems to be lubricated by a feedback loop of gratification where in individuals feel their communication is improved and more enjoyable than with just words. The current findings are relevant to theories of communication as well as to online education. Recommendations for future research into their effectiveness for educational purposes are provided.
- OU - Dissertations