Ryder Ripps made a point about GIFs in response to this post by Julia Kaganskiy:
Just to clarify, GIFs are simply short animations.
Animation has been considered an art form for a while now.
Unless we are discussing the inherent technical qualities of a GIF,,,,
such as the fact they have a 256 color limit,,,,
the various types of dithering that are used (noise, pattern, diffusion)
the fact that they have no standardized frame rate and furthermore much discrepancy browser to browser,,,
unless we are talking about these inherent qualities I think its important that we consider GIFs as just another format for animation. Like any tool or material, its function often dictates its form.
Yet, like it or not, GIFs also imitate photography and cinematography rather well and are the perfect medium for lightweight, browser-independent, non-Flash clippings from mainstream TV, movies and YouTubes. For most people GIFs will not connote the hard line position Ripps describes (a medium concerned with its own inherent qualities) but will be funny "three frame" versions of popular culture, etc. This makes it harder for the GIF avant garde and and more likely they will encounter reactionary complaints from other artists but being a Pop artist wasn't always a tall glass of Coca Cola (TM) either.