It is weird how gifs* have become popular all over again. Even in the 1990s and early 2000s when they were the preferred means of conveying something visual in a loop I found them rather irritating.
For those of you geek-challenged, gifs are actually GIFs or Graphic Interchange Format which are an effective way to visually capture any dramatic moments. Gifs keep playing those moments in an incessant loop until such time as you drop dead in irritation or close it. I could go either way on gifs.
In the past few months gifs have made a strange comeback. Think of gifs as the bellbottoms of the graphics world. They feel quaintly charming in nostalgic tones from time to time. It is like fads being cyclical. For instance, the popular video game Pac-Man which enjoys revival from time to time.
The main reason why gifs were in wide use in the early era of the Internet after their creation I 1987 was because they are a very small file in terms of their size. They could be just a few kilobytes (kbs) and could be embedded without slowing down the page-loading. I know all this sounds rather geeky to you but trust me it is not. Real geeks are laughing at me right now.
What gifs do, even irritatingly so, is not just preserve memorable moments but keep playing them again and again and again and again and again. (See how irritating it already is). Making gifs is in demand these days partly because of the intense proliferation of videos around the world. Memorable or embarrassing or awkward moments are captured 24/7 on video and lend themselves brilliantly to gifs. The visual brevity of gifs can be valuable in emphasizing a point.
Another reason why gifs have reclaimed ground is because they rub it in, I mean moments people may not like to be remembered. There is a degree of schadenfreude involved here. That’s why gifs of people falling and slipping and tripping and bumping or dropping their clothes accidentally are among the most popular ones.
To get a sense of how popular gifs have become again check out this site that tracks such trivia. : http://gifhell.com/
* Can be pronounced both with a soft g that is jifs or a hard g that gifs (like gifts with the ‘t’ missing)
P.S.: I am not entirely sure why I have written this stupid post other than chronicling some minor meme.