Gifs are apparently going out of fashion. That’s according to Vice and their interviews with twentysomethings about the image format used all over the internet. The story explains that the younger generation sees gif usage as something older people use. As such, that makes it quite uncool.
Gen Z might think GIFs are beloved by millennials, but at the same time, many millennials are starting to see GIFs as a boomer plaything. And this is the first and easiest explanation as to why GIFs are losing their cultural cachet. Whitney Phillips, an assistant professor of communication at Syracuse University and author of multiple books on internet culture, says that early adopters have always grumbled when new (read: old) people start to encroach on their digital space.Amelia Tait
It’s difficult to see how gifs have changed in perception. They’re everywhere and when you think about it, the gif made an incredible comeback. The format was originally created as a competitor to the jpg image format. It was also almost exclusively found on CompuServe. The format was clunky and annoying in the Geocities days. Gif was relegated to the dustbin of the internet’s beginnings. Then somewhere along the way, it became something new. Reborn from the ashes of HTML 3.0, it rose from the ashes to the powerhouse it is today. Gif is so old, it was supported in Netscape version 2!
If the younger generation sees gifs as uncool, I’m curious to know what they do see as cool. One hint from Tait’s reporting is TikTok. A consensus that may be coalescing is the idea to record yourself with the needed reaction to something rather than finding a gif from elsewhere. While I hope that doesn’t become mainstream (nobody needs to see my AaronAsSurprisedChrisPrattImpression.gif) I can’t imagine a vacuum of reactions remaining in the places where conversations happen.