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GIFS Celebrate Their 30th Birthday

June 21, 2017
By Anthony Elio

Whether you pronounce it the way it’s spelled, more like the peanut butter, or prefer to stay out of that argument altogether, you can’t deny that GIFs have gotten pretty popular over the years. I still remember my earliest experiences with GIFs, when my friends would load up their Myspace profiles with the moving images, making my computer run extremely slow and making it hard to listen to Evanescence. Simpler times.

“But why are you randomly talking about GIFs?” you ask me disrespectfully.

Well, it just so happens that GIFs have officially turned 30 years old this month. Which means that they’re older than most of the cast of High School Musical. Let that sink in for a moment.

To celebrate this landmark, the GIF specialists over at Gfycat surveyed 1,000 Americans about their GIF usage and yielded some pretty interesting results. Of those surveyed, 63% had used GIFs, with 20% being avid users. In other words, it’s not just your one friend that only communicates in GIFs.

However, the most astounding stat Gfycat discovered was the fact that not only had 14% never used a GIF at all, 23% had no idea what a GIF was. Where did they hold this survey? A Luddite retirement center? (There it is. The best thing I’ve ever written. I can finally retire.)

But while there are some people that enjoy using GIFs, who’s actually creating them? Are they merely a gift from our grand internet overlords to distract us from the fact that they’re stealing all of our personal information? Well, no. But that does sound about right. GIFs are actually created pretty easily, with 39% of those surveyed creating their own. Which means someone actually put in the time to create this GIF.

And so, in closing the 30th birthday celebration of moving digital images, let’s take a look at some of the earliest examples of shareable GIFs. From that dancing baby from Ally Mcbeal to the banana from “Peanut Butter Jelly Time”, dancing was a pretty common theme in early GIF lore. But can any of them compare to Tobey Maguire dancing? I think not.

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Featured GIFs Courtesy of Gfycat
Featured Image Courtesy of flickr user armydre2008

Author Bio: Anthony Elio is the Assistant Editor for Innovation & Tech Today. Outside of writing, he is a drummer, podcast host, sandwich enthusiast, and amateur self-describer.

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