"Lucy Dikeou, a 21-year-old senior at Stanford University, has long used English and the pictorial images known as emoji to text on her iPhone. A few months ago, she started messaging with a third language: GIFs.
When Ms. Dikeou recently wanted a friend to stop sending her pictures of food, she responded with a GIF — an animated image known as a graphical interchange format — of Christina Aguilera rolling her eyes, waving her hand and soundlessly mouthing “PLEASE STOP.” Ms. Dikeou’s mobile messages are now often textless, replaced by clips of Harry Potterapplauding, or excited toddlers opening birthday presents. Her favorite one features the ensemble cast of “Seinfeld” elatedly dancing, which she sent upon hearing that a friend was coming into town.
“I’m able to express these really complex emotions in the span of two seconds,” said Ms. Dikeou, who had never sent the clips with her phone before October, when she downloaded Riffsy, a mobile keyboard app designed to transmit the animated images."