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Should Lawyers Use GIFs in Their Social Media?

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By Casey C. Sullivan, Esq. on March 04, 2016 2:57 PM

Gone are the days when you could get away with a website and wall of text. Today, the Internet is dominated by the visual as much as the textual -- and savvy lawyers know that they need to take advantage video and images, especially when it comes to social media.

But what about GIFs? Those moving images have taken over the Internet and now, thanks to a Twitter update, are even easier to get into your social media stream. But are they appropriate for lawyers?

A G-I-Whatnow?

Yesterday, Twitter rolled out a dedicated GIF button on their mobile device, making it even easier to upload and share GIFs socially.

If you're not familiar with the genre, GIF stands for "graphic interchange format" and it dates all the way back to 1987's CompuServe. (Let's take a moment of silence for the world's first major online service.)

GIFs are somewhere between a photo and a video. They essentially allow you to show a series of images in a single file; though not with enough frames to be mistaken for video. (Though some are getting close.)

As bandwidth has grown, GIFs have exploded. There are entire blogs dedicated to illustrating simple things with GIFs, like "What the Public Defender?" a Tumblr blog that pairs "When you discover the ADA withheld exculpatory evidence and you call her out in open court" with a GIF of Nicki Minaj.

Let the Experts Weigh In

We can see some lawyers embracing the form, filling their tweets with DUI and divorce GIFs or just amusing images. Others, we're sure, will shy away from the casual, Millennial-centric GIF world.

But instead of saying what you should do, our intrepid social media team at FindLaw took to Twitter to ask some of the their legal social media peers.

That got the attention of the Florida Bar Association.

Lest you worry that the ABA was getting too informal, they quickly followed up with this clarification.

So, dear reader, which way will you go?

Will you use GIFs on social media?
Yes, of course
No way
online poll creator

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