Here's how people are using GIFs during social distancing

Think: Tiger King and happy hours.

Over the last month, people have been using their self-quarantine time to up their GIF game – and not just with searches for COVID-19.

According to GIPHY, the online database has seen a 33 percent increase in usage over the past 30 days, including a surge in searches for – yes, coronavirus – but more importantly, in items around positivity and encouragement. For example, throughout March, the site saw a 30 percent uptick in searches for "I love you," "I miss you" and "You got this."

"As people are hunkering down across the world, communication is increasingly turning to digital means," penned the GIPHY team in a blog post. "With 10+ billion pieces of content shared on GIPHY every day — and every GIF search representing an emotion, reaction, etc. — GIPHY is a natural form of expression for these digital conversations."

This means, GIFs can serve as a litmus test of sorts for how people in the country are feeling and expressing themselves.

GIPHY found that WFH (work-from-home) searches have increased 35 times as much as previous months, with searches for typical morning searches, like "coffee," being evenly distributed throughout the day. Searches for "Netflix" or "drinks," which are more predominantly evening-focused, are also more evenly distributed.

Entertainment is definitely having its time in the sun, according to GIPHY, which has seen a 999 percent increase in searches for "TV" and a 643 percent jump in "movies."

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Netflix’s "Tiger King" is leading the way in "TV show" searches. In fact, the amount of time GIPHY users have spent searching for "Tiger King" GIFs adds up to the same time it would take to watch the series 2,403 times.

Video game searches are also up 928 percent for the month of March, and searches for "happy hour" and "cheers" still spike at the end of the week, despite the drinks being virtual.

And when not on social media, GIPHY users seem to be finding new hobbies, with a 225 percent increase in searches for the likes of drawing, painting and design.

Earlier this month, events like Super Tuesday and International Women’s Day dominated the platform, but were eclipsed by coronavirus searches mid-month. Toward the end of March, however, GIPHY has seen a decrease in COVID-19-related searches, while searches for shows and other activities steadily increase.

GIPHY has also seen an increase in brands and organizations, like the Ad Council and Russell Stover, turning to the database to help communicate its PSAs and initiatives.

"These are, of course, unprecedented times. While we hope these insights are helpful in showing the trends we see on GIPHY, we know it doesn’t tell everyone’s story," the company’s blog reads. "Wherever you may currently find yourself, we hope GIPHY can still be a place that inspires creativity, shares positivity, and provides the content that helps you tell your story."

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