30 years ago, online service provider CompuServe was in a conundrum. It needed a colour image format for its file downloading areas, to replace the black-and-white RLE format. Software developer Steve Wilhite came to the rescue with the GIF. So far, so boring.
We’re guessing that back then, nobody would have predicted that the GIF would undergo a phoenix-like transformation into a communication method beloved by internet users the world over. Or that it would enable an entire generation to express itself in a way that it just couldn't manage with mere words.
However you pronounce it (although let’s face it, only the pedants are trudging on with that ‘soft g’ rubbish), the GIF has changed the way we communicate online.
To celebrate, Facebook has made GIFs available to use in the comments section (opens in new tab) and pulled together some pretty interesting stats on GIF usage in Messenger. Twitter is also in on the action, with users getting their GIF on to help mark the occasion.
⚡️ “Celebrate the 30th birthday of the GIF with the #HappyBirthdayGIF party! https://t.co/e4UJb41QRM ⚡️ pic.twitter.com/2uqIuYRu02June 15, 2017
The GIF turns 30 today! Which Star Wars @GIPHY is your favorite? #HappyBirthdayGIF https://t.co/HXt6J4mMc6 pic.twitter.com/mzTgGRn5MnJune 15, 2017
Hope you get lots of GIFts.#HappyBirthdayGIF pic.twitter.com/Nh40iio3ZCJune 15, 2017
Saying hey to 30 like... #HappyBirthdayGIF pic.twitter.com/blvpwByAuY15 June 2017
Hard G for life. #HappyBirthdayGIF pic.twitter.com/TfL0wtsExa15 June 2017
Can't believe the Gif turns 30 today! #HappyBirthdayGIF pic.twitter.com/aUhX4h2zfEJune 16, 2017
If you have a spare hour or so, the hashtag #HappyBirthdayGIF is worth a browse. You won't regret it. And if you're feeling keen, you could even . Happy birthday GIF!