Along with emoji, GIFs have become the de facto communication tool when words simply aren't enough to properly express what one is feeling. They can be tragic, sad, disgusting, and downright funny.
Which is why it's surprising to learn that GIFs, the internet's default grab-bag toy chest for humor, is being implemented into such as esteemed avenue: LinkedIn Messenger.
GIFs Land On LinkedIn Messenger
Tenor, a GIF platform Google purchased not too long ago, is now part of LinkedIn's messaging service. The integration also allows users to send and receive GIFs, and also access trending GIFs. In the future, they'll also be able to create a custom stream displaying most-used GIFs within the LinkedIn network.
As of writing, the update remains only partly available to some users — just 50 percent — but will roll out for every LinkedIn members in the near future.
"Seven in 10 Americans use GIFs and other visuals like emojis in their conversations, and this trend has moved to the way people communicate at work as well," LinkedIn writes in a blog post. "What better way to congratulate a coworker on their recent promotion, say 'Thanks!' to a colleague for an introduction to one of their connections, or show excitement for a catch-up with your former teammate?"
Yup, what's more diplomatic and professional than GIFs?
Tenor GIF Search
Tenor said recently that it was powering over 12 million GIF search queries each month. But while GIFs have indeed become highly popular among netizens, it's hard to imagine that it'll be anywhere near appropriate in workplace communication. Even LinkedIn is cautious about sending GIFs willy-nilly:
"[T]hink about your company's culture, your professional relationship with the person, and the industry you work in to decide if it makes sense to send a GIF."
The real meat of the story here, however, is that Tenor will provide LinkedIn's GIF services exclusively, which is great news for its new owner, Google. This way, the GIF platform can leverage its position to place sponsored GIF content inside its search interface, giving brands a unique opportunity to explore a new category of mobile advertising that could have high value. Of course, there's the matter of this being in LinkedIn Messenger, and the idea that not many professionals will even dare use it lest they embarrass themselves in front of their peers.
LinkedIn notes, though, that messaging in its platform has grown to 60 percent year-over-year — an audience both Google and Tenor can tap into.