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Giphy Keys is the company's first smartphone keyboard that lets users search for and send GIFs within any messaging app. Giphy

You’ve probably used a GIF to wish someone a happy birthday, but now it's GIF’s day to be celebrated because 30 years ago, the first “graphics interchange gormat” or GIF was created. The internet just wouldn’t be the same without the enjoyment GIFs bring.


Steve Wilhite, the genius behind the GIF, was working for CompuServe in 1987 when he invented the first GIF. It was the result of an effort to improve black-and-white image transfers and bring color to the technique. He successfully did this, adding color while maintaining the compressed format so that it would load quickly. Movement and looping wasn’t added to the image format until 1995, which is when the real fun began, the Telegraph said.

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GIFs are like small videos with no sound, typically only a few seconds of video that is then looped. The short clips are like a hybrid of photo and video. When they’re from a clip from a show or movie. They sometimes also have captions. They’re widely used on social media platforms like Twitter, Tumblr and now, recently, even in Facebook comments. They also can be sent in Facebook chat, over iMessage, in WhatsApp and over other messaging platforms.


How do you pronounce GIF?

There’s a long-standing argument about the proper pronunciation of GIF. Some people argue it should be pronounced like the peanut butter “jif” while others think it should be a hard “g” as in the word “gorilla.” Wilhite said it should be pronounced like the peanut butter, with the sound of the “j” or the word "generous" instead of the hard “g.” The audio pronunciation on Merriam-Webster uses the hard “g.” These disagreements only fuel the debate.


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What is a GIF maker?

There are several websites and apps you can use to create your own GIFs called GIF makers. Giphy is a popular one that also holds a host of GIFs for your enjoyment and use. Most makers are fairly simple to use and some even have apps so you can create GIFs easily on your phone.


“Live-giphing” has become a trend on social media. referring to the creation of GIFs live during an event like sports events or presidential debates. They’re kind of the visual version of sound bytes.

They’re also frequently used to express reactions and sometimes turn into memes, or cultural jokes. A recent popular GIF turned meme was one referred to as the “Drew Scanlon Reaction” on Know Your Meme or the “blinking guy.”


Despite the disagreement over how they're pronounced they've brought the people of the internet a lot of joy over the last 30 years.