It is unofficially/officially/whatever-ly the year of the GIF. Even though it seems like the year of the GIF has been going on for the past two years or so, this year the OED named “GIF” their USA word of the year and it turned 25 years old, ergo it’s the year of the GIF. That’s how it works.
And with the GIF being as popular as ever, now’s a good time to brush up on your history of this internet vernacular that outlasted the Web 1.0 culture it emerged from. You can do that by reading this great article by Josh Kopstein and complementing that by watching the short film above, A Short History of the Gif, from Sean Pecknold and Legs Media.
The tales goes all the way back to 1987 (that’ll be 25 years ago then), beginning with an image format called 87a, then takes us all the way through dancing babies and cats shooting lasers out of their eyes. But we all know the real issue with the format is: How the hell do you pronounce it? (I think it’s GIF as in gift).