GIFs aren't just contained in Tumblr posts anymore. Thanks to GIF keyboards that you can download right onto your phone, you don't have to tell someone you want to party — you can show them with a RuPaul GIF.
That can lead to some fun insights. Tenor, the company that makes the GIF keyboard for some of the world’s most popular messaging apps — iMessage, Facebook Messenger, Kik, Twitter, Google Gboard, and the Android’s Touchpal and Kika keyboards — has compiled data on how people used celebrity GIFs to express themselves in 2016.
According to the company, people search for GIFs on their keyboards 200 million times every day. Half of the company's user base, according to CEO David McIntosh, is in North America, around a quarter is in Europe, and the remainder can be found in Latin America, the Middle East, and Asia.
Most GIFs in Tenor's database use emotions or emotional actions as a primary tag — “sad,” “smile,” “ewww” — so using a celebrity GIF usually has a tag that indicates the tone. You can, for instance, search “Steph Curry nervous” for a GIF of the basketball player biting his nails.
McIntosh told BuzzFeed News, "The world is voting with what they search for and share on how the world perceives these [celebrities]."
Here are the celebrities people turned to most in 2016 to express their emotions when words failed and only a GIF would do:
16. Kobe Bryant: #Smile
15. LeBron James: #Eww
14. RuPaul: #Party
13. Dwight Schrute: #Why
12. Justin Beiber: #ThankYou
11. Kevin Hart: #smh
10. Kanye: #idk
9. Drake: #Dance
8. Rihanna: #Wink
7. President Obama: #Seriously
6. Oprah: #Excited
5. Bernie Sanders: #DoNotWant
4. Harry Potter: #Applause
3. Hillary Clinton: #Happy
2. Beyonce: #Angry
1. Donald Trump: #Eyeroll
People send 200,000,000 GIFs on Tenor's keyboards each day. An earlier version of this story misstated the number.
Blake Montgomery is a reporter with BuzzFeed News and is based in San Francisco.
Contact Blake Montgomery at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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