Happy 30th Birthday, GIF!

In celebration of our good friend GIF’s 30th birthday, we’ve put together a little presentation all about its life, history, and future! Please check it out in handy Google Slide format:


Hate presentations? That’s okay. No, we’re not crying. You’re crying.

We’ll go ahead and cram all that information right into this post. It’ll be less fabulous and we’ll have to reword some stuff, but if that’s what you want, alright.


GIFS: Facts & Information

Today, June 15, 2017, is the 30th anniversary of the GIF!

Are you fucking stoked right now? We’re talking about GIFs!

If you somehow don’t know what a GIF is, well, we find that pretty hard to believe. But, fine, we’ll tell you anyway.

The GIF is a digital image format – specifically a “graphics interchange format.” It was developed by Steve Wilhite, back at a place called CompuServe. [source]


CompuServe was a vast and powerful kingdom of the ancient internet, where children rode on magical flying keyboards. Its physical location was a closely guarded secret, for many explorers coveted the riches of this first of the commercial internet service providers.

Why were GIFs created?

Who can truly know what darkness lies in the hearts of men? But, we’ve heard that GIFs were created as an improvement upon standard black and white digital image files.

You see, the GIF allowed a single image to reference a palette of a whopping 256 colors, while still remaining compressed enough not to strangle your shitty dial-up. [source]

256 is a lot of colors! How many colors can you even name?


GIFs built the internet.

Guess what file format was used for the very first photographic image ever posted to the web. The GIF! [source]

That’s the image down below. Look at it. It’s of great historical importance.

Without the GIF, this image would have languished in obscurity for an eternity, rather than enjoying the incredible fame it knows now.

Les Horribles Cernettes were a musical parody group founded out of CERN, the center for the European Organization for Nuclear Research. Trufax!

Really, though. GIFs built the internet. Remember these?

The 90s were such a dark time.

How do we use GIFs today?

These days, the GIFs you encounter are typically animated in nature and are used to convey myriad sentiments and reactions, to encapsulate moments in soundless moving picture, and even as an artistic medium. Throw a rock at the internet, you’ll hit a GIF.

Look at these stupid stats. [source]

  • 23 million GIFs are posted to Tumblr every day
  • 5 million GIFs are exchanged on Facebook Messenger daily
  • More than 2 million GIF interactions take place on Slack monthly
  • GIF viewers via Giphy watch more than 2 million hours of GIFs per day
  • Giphy GIFs are seen by more than 100 million daily active users

All this said, there does seem to be a disproportionate amount of popcorn-eating GIFs…

GIFs are probably the future of everything.

The internet sure seems to think so…

Okay. Let’s get to the big question.


How is “GIF” pronounced?

Remember that guy we mentioned earlier? The guy who invented GIFs? In 2013, he accepted a lifetime achievement Webby award. His acceptance speech consisted of only these words:

“It’s pronounced JIF, not GIF.”

You’d think that would be the last word on that, right? 

Opinions are like assholes: shitty.

The Obama White House weighed in on the situation: Breaking: White House Tumblr says it’s GIF, with a ‘hard G’Cnet

And, Gizomodo agrees: The Creator of the GIF Says It’s Pronounced JIF. He Is Wrong

Alex Trebek is team peanut butter: ‘Jeopardy’ wades into ‘GIF’ pronunciation battle – LA Times

A couple different webpages purport to know the score (and disagree with each other):

But dictionaries can’t commit:

However you wanna say it, take time today to say “Happy Birthday, GIF!” and thank it for the many gifts (jifts?) it brings.

Thank You