How many times have you used a GIF to express an emotion you’re having trouble capturing in a text message or a Facebook status update? Whether its reacting to your BFF’s latest dating tragedy (oh no, girl) or just reveling in your latest success (yaaass) – GIFs have become the fastest and easiest way to capture (and share!) the perfect moment.
As someone who started his Tumblr as a way to collect all of the GIFs he was emailing to friends after the latest episode of “Real Housewives” or “Flavor of Love,” T. Kyle MacMahon mastered the skill of capturing the perfect moment. GIFing some of the juiciest OMG! moments for 360i clients such as Bravo and Oxygen, his GIFs are seen and shared by hundreds of thousands of people across social media. His GIFs have also earned him recognition and accolades from top publications and TV shows including TIME magazine’s “Top 30 Tumblrs to Follow in 2013.”
360i: Where did your passion for reality TV come from and when did you realize your GIFs had viral appeal?
TKM: The VH1 “Celebreality” days was really where it all began. The shows were so outrageous and entertaining. I was in college at the time and we used to have viewing parties for “Flavor of Love.” Miss New York is still worshipped by my audience six years later. I didn’t share RealityTVGIFs publicly at first, so I didn’t realize my GIFs had viral appeal until people started following.
360i: What kind of content do your fans react best to? What’s the secret to keeping them constantly engaged?
TKM: My audiences respond best to humor. They also really love my audio remixes. The secret to keeping them engaged is to keep making them laugh. I’ve started to move away from the “GIF it first” mentality, and now I’m trying to focus more on the content. I don’t update as frequently, but when I do I want to make sure the content is good. I also like surprising my audience. Instead of always following along with what’s on TV that week, I try to mix it up.
360i: When did you realize that you had become an influential content creator and OMG! moment king?
TKM: When Andy Cohen invited me to “Watch What Happens Live” to be the guest bartender – an “OMG” moment indeed. I wrote a GIF story about the experience, it was incredible.
360i: You’re working with some big networks right now (and even appeared as a guest on some) – when did they first start reaching out to you specifically to promote shows?
TKM: My first GIF-gig for a brand was for the 2011 MTV Video Movie Awards. We were the first to coin the term “Live-GIFing.” They basically told me to try and make GIFs as fast as I could and see how it worked out. Our engagement was massively successful so we just kept doing it for more live events. Over time, brands started to understand what GIFs were, they could see that I had a good eye for shareable content, and wanted to see their shows on RealityTVGIFs.
360i: Tumblr is a major social platform where your content thrives – what are some of your other favorite social platforms or apps?
TKM: I really enjoy Instagram. I use it to showcase my new hobby: photography. I’ve also started creating content on YouTube and Vine. I love anything visual.
360i: Are there any Influencers you look to for inspiration or just admire – whether it’s the content they create or how they’ve built their careers?
TKM: Andy Cohen, RuPaul and Lohanthony. I’m also really inspired by a lot of YouTubers. I started a YouTube channel recently and it really made me see YouTubers and on-camera talent in a new light. I have a lot of respect for anyone who can fearlessly put themselves out there on the internet or on-camera in general.
360i: Without giving away any names – were there any brands that approached you to GIF a show and you were just like, “not going to happen?”
TKM: There have been some, yes. It’s nothing against any brand, I just I feel that some content doesn’t work well for Tumblr. Tumblr is visual, outrageous and self-aware. I think brands hear the word “GIF” and think it’s an instant guarantee that people will share their content. It’s not. It’s difficult for me to work with content that is too serious or earnest. I enjoy that kind of content, it just doesn’t fit the voice of RealityTVGIFs.
360i: Of all the GIFs you’ve made, what is your absolute favorite one?