I've often noticed that gifs, especially reaction gifs as a response, are sort of the new-age sound bites from the radio. Where radio djs use a multitude of sound bites pulled from viral videos, past radio shows and interviews to react, respond and elevate the listeners perception of what's going on, gifs are the internet's way of doing so.
I've also noticed that with a video, I can start watching the video and then decide if it is worthy of picking up my headphones and putting them on to listen fully. I have my headphones plugged in to my computer at all times so I catch snippets of the audio from the video if the volume is up. Most recently, this occurred with the viral devil baby video. I didn't actually listen to it except for the high pitch pulses of "AAAAAA" that came from my exposed headphones sitting on the desk in front of me.
With audio, I have to commit to it. I have to put on my headphones and decide that this is worthy of my time and I want to listen.
We have talked before about the ultra-competitive nature of things we read, listen, or watch online on Hubski. The general consensus seems to be that we have so many things that we can choose to do with our free time, there needs to be some reason that I should choose to spend my time on that specific thing. Hense, TL;DR. Hense gifs. Hense why audio, which gives no clues of whether it is good or bad or worth my time, doesn't go viral as often.
Great read. Awesome stuff.