Is this the end of the GIF?

The internet’s most prolific file format might be on the way out.

In 2016, a Tumblr executive called GIFs “the file format of the internet generation.”

Six years later, the looping image format is being described as “cringe” by younger generations, per The Atlantic.

What happened?

In short, a combination of things:

  • Accessibility: GIF-searching features on Facebook, Twitter, and iMessage brought the format to the masses.
  • Over-usage: As using GIFs became easier, more people started using them, often selecting the same ones over and over.

As older adults started using the same GIFs as their children and grandchildren, the format lost its cool factor.

But are GIFs really going away?

GIF database Giphy reported declining uploads on its platform and said younger users describe GIFs as “for boomers” in a filing with the Competition and Markets Authority.

  • Further, another file type has emerged: MP4 video files, which can display a similar effect to GIFs at a smaller file size, have been embraced by most social media platforms.

Of course, as the latest wave of nostalgia proves — culture is cyclical. So as soon as we proclaim the death of the GIF, some trendsetters are sure to resurrect it once again.

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