paint-brush
The Lord of the GIFs: Why We Need a Decentralized Tenorby@katerlna
363 reads
363 reads

The Lord of the GIFs: Why We Need a Decentralized Tenor

by EkaterinaOctober 31st, 2022
Read on Terminal Reader
Read this story w/o Javascript
tldt arrow

Too Long; Didn't Read

It’s obvious that gifs has already become an integral part of our culture. They’ve become especially popular and trendy with the widespread of social media platforms and messengers in recent years. In general, gifs appeal more to tech-savvy millenials, and really help brands to connect with them. In its current state, Tenor is very inconvenient to use by crypto community - there is a good chance you won’t find what you are looking for.

People Mentioned

Mention Thumbnail

Companies Mentioned

Mention Thumbnail
Mention Thumbnail

Coin Mentioned

Mention Thumbnail
featured image - The Lord of the GIFs: Why We Need a Decentralized Tenor
Ekaterina HackerNoon profile picture

Gifs have already become an integral part of our culture. Though they've been around for some time (in fact, this format was released in 1987, according to the Wikipedia), they’ve become especially popular and trendy with the widespread of social media platforms and messengers in recent years. Nowadays, gifs are even studied by the scientists and are used in marketing campaigns. For example, Chanel used this image format their email marketing in 2017, as you can see below.

But this gif is obviously the bad example - it’s boring and does not convey strong emotions, which gifs are usually associated with. The wealthy and serious audience of Chanel is not the best target for experimenting with strong emotions and jokes.


In general, gifs appeal more to tech-savvy millenials, and really help brands to connect with them. That’s why these animated pictures became so popular in the crypto space, they are even converted to NFTs and are sold for big money. For example, this NFT gif of Nyan Cat was sold for 300 ETH (nearly $474000 even in the current bear market):


Do you still have doubts about gifs importance? I was reading reviews of HackerNoon on Glassdoor, and accidentally saw this: “Team members don’t use enough GIFs in the Slack channel, this must be improved immediately”. This was stated as the only cons of the company in September 2020, so maybe things have improved since then…

One platform to rule them all

If you made a gif and want to share it with your friends, you can just upload it like you do with your images and videos, or you may choose to store it online to allow other people to use it. There are several popular platforms for publishing your gifs: Giphy, Tenor, Tumblr, Gfycat… But Tenor has one important advantage - impressive network of partners, who embeds it to their platforms. Do you know that if you publish your gif on tenor.com, it will be featured on gif search everywhere: on Twitter, Discord, Telegram, Whatsapp, Viber, Facebook? Maybe also on other platforms, as I named only those which I tried myself.


Only recently did I know about it, because as a worker of marketing group of Joystream DAO I was researching competitors and stumbled upon Call to Action Initiative, organized by a Hive marketer. In posts like this he encourages community members to reply on the chosen tweet for Hive promotion. Then he says that he created a gifs library on Tenor, which can be used in these replies to catch more attention.


I thought it was a good idea to create such a library for Joystream, too. There were only 2 or 3 gifs related to Joystream, if you search on Tenor or other apps using it (on Telegram, for example). So I made some gifs and started to upload them on Tenor…

Is it really Google?

It was a very bad user experience, with quite a lot of bugs during the process (I will not describe all of them). For one thing, there were triple notifications for every gif: “Congrats! Your gif is now being featured in joystream!”. But when I searched by the tag #joystream, I could not find any of them. Instead, there were other gifs, unrelated to the keyword. For example, gifs tagged as #stream or even #hyeongseop (a South Korean duo, it turned out).


A few days later some of my gifs did appear among the first results by the tag #joystream. I shared my excitement with community members, and some of them used them on Telegram (they were easy to find by the keyword “joystream”). But after a few more days, they disappeared again. I am talking about these gifs, by the way, if you think there is someting criminal in them.


I studied Google Terms of Service (yes, the platform belongs to Google) and Tenor Additional Terms. Am I violating this: “You must not use Tenor for any commercial purpose or for the benefit of any third party”? Seems unlikely, as I’m not selling anything, I’ve just added some gifs with Joystream logo. I am definitely complying with the rules. They have a lot of gifs with Youtube logo, for example.


There is just something wrong with their search algorithms. Ok, the keyword “joystream” might be used by a person who is looking for a “stream of joy”, and not for the Joystream DAO. But even in this interpretation, search results are far from perfect.


I also experimented with another keyword, “Gleev”, which is the name of a video platform under construction. I made a gif with Gleev logo and uploaded it to Tenor, but it’s also somewhere in the bottom of search results for #gleev, so low that I could not find it. Instead, gifs under the tag #glee are shown first. These search algorithms imperfections are strange, given the fact that Tenor is owned by Google, which is a search engine giant.

Why do we need an alternative

In its current state, Tenor is very inconvenient to use by crypto community - there is a good chance you won’t find what you are looking for, using its search. Because of this, a lot of gifs created by the crypto community are just getting lost after their publication on Discord or somewhere else (as a Bounty task, for example), and are never used again.


With this in mind, I decided to look for Tenor alternatives on blockchain, but surprisingly, I didn’t find any. Surprisingly, because there are already so many different crypto projects, including video platforms and NFT marketplaces, but there is still no crypto “online gif search engine and database” (the definition of Tenor on Wikipedia). Some ecosystem projects make it possible to create such a platform on their blockchains (Joystream is just one example), but nobody has ever tried to do it.


If a good blockchain alternative to Tenor would be created, would Elon Musk, who has recently bought Twitter, replace Tenor by it on this platform? Well, he might, given his love of blockchain. Would other social media platforms and messengers follow? They always follow the trend, and crypto is becoming a trend indeed, so why not?