Gifs Are Officially Dying, Reports Say, And Not Even Your Texts Can Save Them

We still don't know if it's pronounced GIFF or JIFF but we're majorly bummed in a Sad Pikachu way.

No matter how you pronounce it (with a G or a J), GIFs may become a thing of the past sooner than we’d like. And as Craig Robinson in “Hot Tub Time Machine” so aptly states, “We’re not prepared for this!”

A recent article from “The Guardian” goes into detail as to why GIFs may be going the way of the dinosaur. GIFs are technically their own media form, but are usually “too short to have meaning on their own but perfect for adding context and color to posts in the form of the ‘reaction gif.’”

Creating a GIF scratch was initially a super tedious process only the really Photoshop-equipped cared to take on. But then third-party apps like Giphy made it super easy to screen capture and GIF-ize content across the web.

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Jokes indicate that Boomers used them the wrong way, while Gen Z-ers couldn’t care less. Somewhere in between were the Millennials, who adopted them with open arms, using Tumblr and Twitter to amplify their usage, and later integrate them into Millennial-developed apps like Slack. 

“The Guardian” even states GIFs are as old as the average Millennial user, “born” in 1989. Sadly, Stephen Wilhite, the creator of the animated format, passed away in March of 2022. And it looks like his claim to fame may be moving on as well.

However, GIF usage isn’t necessarily the cause for its own demise as digital reactions, inside jokes and more are fueled by their presence. 

No, the reason the GIF may die off sooner than later is mainly due to copyright, an issue digital media has been battling since the internet came into existence. 

“The Guardian” goes into detail on the heavier aspects surrounding GIFs, Giphy and looming copyright infringements the company has had to pay out over the years. Reports that company valuation is down — combined with low buyout offers — are giving Sad Pikachu vibes. 

Where will we be without Bored Stanley from “The Office,” or kittens adorably yawning, to represent how we feel in a visual way? At least we still have emojis, but they don’t express our frustration like a looping clip from a “Real Housewives” fight would.

Until then, in the wise words of SpongeBob, “It is not over!”

 

Katka Lapelosova
Katka is a born and raised New Yorker and writer who has written for Yahoo!, Huffington Post, Reader's Digest, SheKnows, Livingly, and more. Read more
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