Finally, a Service to Track Viral GIFs (Like the Weird Ones From Last Night's VMAs)

The new service GifHell tracks the most viral animated GIFs
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VMA Gif

MTV's annual pageant of music and weirdness, The Video Music Awards, aka the event of the teenage late summer, happened again last night. There were shocking performances and the audience was appropriately shocked.

And for a brief moment, as seems to be required by Internet law, everyone on Twitter was talking about and making jokes about the VMAs.  Many of these jokes involved animated GIFs because tiny, low-resolution loops of video are the best way of emphasizing the absurdity or awesomeness of certain actions. (Plus, they play on phones and don't come with pre-roll advertising.)

In any case, all these jokes, all this talk, created a lot of data about what GIFs were the best. (GIF quality, of course, being perfectly and precisely measured by popularity.) And now, thanks to the weekend project of a Redditor, you can see rankings of the most tweeted GIFs at any given time. This glorious service is called GIFHELL (can be NSFW, depending on the moods of Twitterers). 

So, right now, at the top of the charts, we find a selection of fine VMA GIFs to help you understand what happened last night, and so, so many boy band loops. But we can also peek in on things that are just catching fire and we find ... oh... more VMA moments, some anime, and people twerking. Everything, basically.

Rihanna, et al.
Rihanna, et al

Via Dave Weiner

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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com, where he also oversees the Technology Channel. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science Web site in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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