Thursday, December 20, 2012


The Best GIF (-Related) Stories I Read This Year

The moving GIF started making its come-back a few years back, but only in 2012 did writers really agree to call the phenomenon in terms of a GIF Renaissance. It is, after all, the quarter-century anniversary of these fun looping pictures. The Oxford Dictionaries even named “GIF” word of the year, beating out “YOLO,” and rightly so. Ann Friedman wrote a good overview of what journalists need to know about the animated GIF, while Jezebel explained the reaction GIF.

Reddit has an endless log of GIFs. Buzzfeed’s GIF-lists go on (Mad Men!), and on (Olympics!), and on (rub-a-GIF!). Refresh with the GIFs on Colossal, and then repeat. 

In part, we can credit the resurgence in GIFS to Tumblr, which boasts viral GIF-related sites such as #whatshouldwecallme and Friedman’s own #editorrealtalk. Tumblr even took it on to make an official announcementabout live-giffing the debates. Video games? Tumblr’s got them. The intertextual genius of The Simpsons? Tumblr’s on it. Cartoon cat GIFs? Well, of course.

Tumblr isn’t just for pop culture fans, though! You too can be an artist/curator on Tumblr. Joshua Heineman used his Tumblr to display old photographs, which had been transposed into GIFs. The New York Public Library loved it so much, they followed up with their own expanded version, which features a more theoretical essay by Heineman. The interest doesn’t stop here – see this other art market related piece on GIFs. I’m still trying to decide how seriously to take glitch GIFs (be warned, they can be headache inducing). Less glitchy are these abstract, seamless GIFs that The Atlantic believes will restore any doubter’s faith in GIFs.

But the big, wide internet is your limit: one of my favorite GIFfers isn’t even on Tumblr.

There are even entire curated art shows surrounding the moving GIF – and you don’t even have to be there to take part. See, for instance, the one featured at Art Basel Miami 2012 or the one held by The Photographer’s Gallery.

So, this December, which Christmas GIFs will you be giffing?

Jane Hu is a writer who likes baggy Victorian novels.

GIF via PandaWhale

23 Comments / Post A Comment


soooo... my biggest question is: does one say "gif" with a hard or soft G? I'm always second guessing myself, and I'm realizing I don't think I've ever heard anyone say it.


@noodge Hard G because of "graphics".


@noodge Hard G because "jif" makes me think of peanut butter.


hard "g" because they're hard to make? (I have no idea, just trying to keep up :-/)


@noodge The Friedman article linked above says soft g, but I think it's going to be one of those things I just pronounce "incorrectly," like Smaug, because soft g just sounds wrong to me.


@noodge It is "jif"! But no one says it correctly in conversation, I guess.


Weird. Everyone I know says "jif."


@noodge Hard g, duh, same with everyone I know!

A. Louise

@frigwiggin a guy at my work (where I make gifs for a living, sometimes) calls them peanut butter "jifs" and I try not to make fun of him, but usually I fail.


@noodge I have literally never heard anyone call them jifs, only hard G gifs (hehe, "hard") (and I'm a graphic designer who talks about them often)


@noodge Web designer here, I've also never heard the soft G pronunciation.


@noodge It's pretty funny, everybody has it's own pronunciation opinion. That is all. ravi group builders


@noodge I'm agree with @ravigroup! everyone has it's own opinion. Flipkart Coupons

Heat Signature

Still don't know how to make a GIF.


@Heat Signature I don't know how to paint with oil paint either but I still love me some artz.


@Heat Signature I don't know how to do either of those. :-(


Oh, gifs. I loved them when I was a preteen building my own Geocities website, and I love them now, with my organized folder of Arrested Development gifs.


Oh, Mad Men gifs... will someone make me a gif of Peggy ruefully raising her drink and saying, "Single!!"


@nowwhat Will this do? http://demiadejuyigbe.com/post/32598979289


@adorable-eggplant :D


Am I the only person alive who hates gifs? They make me kind of dizzy/annoyed.


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