Vine has shown us that people will eat up short, looped clips no matter what file format they come in. Still, animated GIFs have one big advantage over their would-be Twitter-endorsed usurpers: they’re far easier to share. Which is just what Loopcam, one of the original GIF-making apps for the iPhone, is emphasizing in version 2.0.
The update brings all sorts of enhancements to the app’s built-in social network. There are new profile pages, including a "loop score" which quantifies your immersion into the world of GIFs, as well as comments and mentions. In one sense, Loopcam’s growth is just like Vine, but in reverse: Loopcam always had the visual goods, now it’s building a social network around them.
But it’s not doing so at the expense of letting you share your GIFs elsewhere. A new share view has simple sliders for blasting your works out via Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter, alongside an option for sharing privately over email. Loopcam’s also updated its web app, which lets users upload GIFs from elsewhere around the internet. The idea is for a boundless hub for any and all GIF activity.
"There’s tons of animated lol around the web, but it lacks a real home," says Tor Rauden Källstigen, Loopcam’s founder. "We believe this home should be open for everyone, be transparent and connect perfectly with any social network you prefer. That’s why we’re aggressively improving the social parts, both within and outside the Loopcam world."
Of course, Vine and Loopcam aren’t peddling quite the same type of bite-size clips. Vine has quickly proved useful for churning out surprisingly impactful mini-movies, while Loopcam’s products end up as something closer to stop-motion animations. But the two apps offer an interesting side-by-side study for what "social" means today. Vine integrates seamlessly with Twitter at the expense of easy distribution and access elsewhere. Loopcam, with no official ties to any single network, knows that its surest path to success is to accommodate sharing in any way possible.