Background: The new gifwich idea is not universally liked.
I appreciate the beliefs that this (1) invalidates more informative means of political discourse on Tumblr, and/or (2) is a wasted opportunity. With that said, I think both are incorrect.
Here are my own two cents: If a community predominantly interacts in gifs (or Spanish or Esperanto, etc.), while I may not love it, if I have a message I will convey it in the native dialogue of that community. This may result in lessening of the totality of my message, but its penetration will be greater within that community than a more holistic message in whatever my preferred language is.
This choice on my part does not cheapen or invalidate my more informative messaging. This is a seductive idea that falls apart when you ask the question, “Would my longform essays get substantially more than 5-10 notes if gifs did not exist?” because the answer is almost assuredly no.
In fact, I’d argue that these less informative gifs actually increase the amount of people seeking out longer form content.
After all, rarely in such cases does a person who is already engaged with the longer form content say “You know what, I don’t care about these essays anymore. Look at this photoset!” Instead, people who otherwise would not be engaged are now more likely to come across my longer form content. In this sense, the native gif/spanish/esperanto messaging is an informational gateway.
Is this a wasted opportunity? Perhaps. However, for me to agree with this statement would require a specific counter-example of what would be better. I have not yet seen nor thought up one.