You’re probably reading this on your phone right now. When you’re done, you might switch apps, check twitter, trawling your Facebook feed in an exercise in voyeurism, lurking in the comments, never actually saying anything. Double tapping through the insta feed… But our voyeurism extends far beyond the lurk though, these days.
Before, 140 character bursts of thought were enough to make casual observations about our day. Then, a simple picture of breakfast set the scene. Now, with the rise of the story, we are our own presenters, producers, designers and broadcasters. We don’t even need TV anymore we’re so busy watching our friends doing shots on the ‘gram. This got elevated to an entirely new level when Instagram introduced all the fun and interactive features on the story. Should I dye my hair blonde or blue? How big is the flame emoji on this outfit? Look at me with this facial filter, how cool are my sunglasses? With this GIF I can make Oprah bust out of anything. Even the Geotag Windows ‘95 aesthetic is making a comeback, rotating neon text floating around all over the place.
The best thing about this is that your story will almost always look unique to you, by virtue of the infinite options available. You get to say whatever you want. But what happens when you want to chuck in a “lekker” into your Sunday afternoon braai story? When you want to say YOH!? Johannesburg-based designer Alicia Van Zyl, who specialises in lettering has been given the opportunity to create brand-new stickers for Giphy, who host the custom image library of gifs we use on Instagram.
Alicia, who has embarked on a number of interesting visual projects including her upcoming line of “Pundies” (underwear with puns on them), has taken the approach that local is, in fact, lekker, and has crowd-sourced a number of South Africanisms to turn into gifs for the stories feature. “Aweh,” “ja nee,” “jy weet mos” “eish,” “ek se,” “now now”, “shap shap,” and “dala what you must” have all been suggested so far, search for them in your story and give it a try.
Looking to get your own transparent gifs onto the platform? If you want to be considered for GIPHY’s featured artist directory, send a link of your GIPHY channel page and your blog/portfolio/website to firstname.lastname@example.org. You must have at least 10 gifs or stickers on your channel to submit. Aweh.