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An ode to the GIF

If a picture can speak a thousand words, is it fair to say a GIF can speak a thousand feelings?

At a recent Ignite event, during which each speaker had five minutes and a maximum of 20 slides to get their point across, our imagination was caught by one of the evening’s more enlightening talks all about the humble GIF.

Candace Kuss, Director of Social Media at H+K Strategies, argued that the GIF is a force of computing technology that, since its conception in 1987, has increased in popularity by enabling people to express themselves in a very short timeframe. Whether it be a baby dancing, a Barak Obama mic drop, or a good old fashioned slow clap, GIFs have got you covered when it comes to conveying what you mean.

What’s more, the history of the GIF seems fairly unfettered by the concept of money. It is rumoured that the founding father of the GIF, Steve Wilhite, has never earnt a penny from the medium and whilst the original GIF was suited to images such as logos, the animated iteration is a space in the World Wide Web very few brands have ever had any success in colonising, though not through lack of trying.

It would seem the only thing that hasn’t caught on about GIFs is how to pronounce them. Apparently, it’s “jif” but don’t let that stop you.

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